SELF-RECOMMENDING!

OT67: Comment Core

This is the bi-weekly visible open thread. There are hidden threads every few days here. Post about anything you want, ask random questions, whatever. Also:

1. Lots of people scored the predictions they posted for 2016; the ones I can find are JonGunnarsson, Anatoly Karlin, Anders Sandberg, and E. Harding – sorry if I missed anybody. And the Eukaryote Writes Blog offers Tips For Throwing A New Years’ Prediction Party.

2. Ozy from Thing of Things now has a Patreon. And Quillette, a magazine on sociobiology, academic freedom, and politically incorrect science (which I’ve linked to here a few times) has a Patreon too. See Jerry Coyne endorsing their fundraising drive here. Remember, if you don’t like someone who’s asking for money, don’t donate; there’s no need to be a jerk about it in the comments.

3. Speaking of Patreon, I’m going to try posting some shorter things here sometimes. If a post is unusually short, I won’t charge patrons until I’ve accumulated enough unusually short posts that they add up to one normal-length post (probably two or three).

4. Thanks to everyone who came out to UCI to attend the Irvine meetup last week. Hopefully you all had as good a time as I did.

5. Since I just got done posting an Unsong chapter and I’m still in the relevant frame of mind, comment of the week is Jaskologist’s theory of magic.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

876 Responses to OT67: Comment Core

  1. Andy says:

    I wonder if the Flynn Effect reflects an actual increase in g, and if it doesn’t, whether such a non-g increase is actually significant to the real world.

  2. dndnrsn says:

    I’ll probably start something in the next OT about this, but it’s caught my attention.

    In the CDC’s NISVS (relevant bit):

    (note that I’m messing with the formatting and such to make it take up less space

    The lifetime prevalence of rape by any perpetrator was:

    For women:
    – Lesbian – 13.1% / – Bisexual – 46.1% / – Heterosexual – 17.4%

    For men:
    – Gay – numbers too small to estimate / – Bisexual – numbers too small to estimate / – Heterosexual – 0.7%

    The lifetime prevalence of sexual violence other than rape (including being made to penetrate, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences) by any perpetrator was:

    For women:
    – Lesbian – 46.4% / – Bisexual – 74.9% / – Heterosexual – 43.3%

    For men:
    – Gay – 40.2%/ – Bisexual – 47.4% / – Heterosexual – 20.8%

    Most bisexual and heterosexual women (98.3% and 99.1%, respectively) who experienced
    rape in their lifetime reported having only male perpetrators. Estimates for sex of perpetrator
    of rape for other groups (lesbian women, gay and bisexual men) were based upon numbers too small to calculate a reliable estimate and, therefore, are not reportable.

    The majority of lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women (85.2%, 87.5%, and 94.7%,
    respectively) who experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime reported having only male perpetrators.
    • 78.6% of gay men and 65.8% of bisexual men who experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime reported having only male perpetrators.
    • 28.6% of heterosexual men who experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime reported having only male perpetrators, while 54.8% reported only female perpetrators, and 16.6% reported both male and female perpetrators.

    • 1 in 3 bisexual women (36.6%) and 1 in 6 heterosexual women (15.5%) have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime.
    • Estimates of stalking for other groups (lesbian women, gay and bisexual men) were based upon numbers too small to calculate a reliable estimate and, therefore,
    are not reported.
    • Estimates of sex of perpetrator of stalking for lesbian and bisexual women and gay and bisexual men were based upon numbers too small to calculate a reliable estimate and, therefore, are not reported.
    • The lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner was:

    For women:
    – Lesbian – 43.8% / – Bisexual – 61.1% / – Heterosexual – 35.0%

    For men:
    – Gay – 26.0% / – Bisexual – 37.3% / – Heterosexual – 29.0%

    • The lifetime prevalence of severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with fist or something hard, slammed against something, or beaten) was:
    For women:

    – Lesbian – 29.4% / – Bisexual – 49.3% / – Heterosexual – 23.6%

    For men:
    – Gay – 16.4% / – Bisexual – numbers too small to report / – Heterosexual – 13.9%

    Most bisexual and heterosexual women (89.5% and 98.7%, respectively) reported having
    only male perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Two-thirds of lesbian women (67.4%) reported having only female perpetrators of intimate partner violence.
    • The majority of bisexual men (78.5%) and most heterosexual men (99.5%) reported having only female perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Most gay men (90.7%) reported having only male perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

    More than half of bisexual women (57.4%), a third of lesbian women (33.5%), and more than a fourth of heterosexual women (28.2%) who experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime reported at least one negative impact (e.g., missed at least one day of school or work, were fearful, were concerned for their safety, experienced at least one post-traumatic stress disorder symptom).

    Looking at all this, the question I find myself asking is, “why do bisexual women suffer such high rates of sexual violence and abuse?” My gut reaction is “they are stereotyped as hypersexual and more likely to cheat, and this affects how others treat them” but that doesn’t explain the less dramatic gap between bisexual men and other men, and if anything the stereotypes of bisexual men are more negative than those of bisexual women. Also, why do bisexual women experience IPV mostly at the hands of male partners, but bisexual men mostly at the hands of female partners?

    • Randy M says:

      Bisexual may include a group of women who move from one orientation to another as a result of abuse? Thus the abuse rate is higher because the orientation can result from it?
      Women’s orientation is to an extent more fluid than men’s, I’ve heard, so perhaps it could adjust in response to trauma.
      Or else… I dunno, something something social unacceptability pushes them towards being with more low impulse control people more often? Doesn’t seem likely to me.

      • dndnrsn says:

        If women “changed orientation” in response to rape and sexual assault or abuse by men, one would expect the numbers among lesbians to be more similar to bisexual women.

    • John Schilling says:

      Looking at all this, the question I find myself asking is, “why do bisexual women suffer such high rates of sexual violence and abuse?”

      Keep in mind, these numbers are the lifetime prevalences, so the bisexual woman who suffers a single incident over thirty sexually active years “counts” the same as the married woman whose husband beats her every night.

      So it seems likely to me that promiscuity is the correlated variable. Every time one enters a new relationship anywhere in the vaguely “romantic” sphere of social interaction, one is rolling the dice anew for, yep, this guy is one of the abusive ones and you now enter the statistical category of “lifetime prevalence of sexual abuse” from which there can be neither escape nor escalation. To a first order, and barring the relatively rare case of rape by a complete stranger, lifetime prevalence will be roughly linear with number of romantic-ish relationships. Bisexuals, almost by definition, have twice as many opportunities to form romantic relationships, and also almost by definition will not reject such opportunities just because they are socially frowned upon. Furthermore, per Bujold/Vorkosigan, the monogamous cannot be actively bisexual, and probably most people are not so pedantic as to answer such survey questions with “…I’ve been faithful to my husband for ten years now, but there was that fling with that girl in college, and I still appreciate a beautiful woman, so put me down as bisexual”. So the long-term monogamous will be underrepresented among self-reported bisexuals, and the promiscuous thus overrepresented.

      This seems consistent with the lifetime prevalence numbers presented earlier. Would also like to see e.g. annual rate numbers including multiple incidents for the same victim; that might help distinguish between competing theories here.

    • Cadie says:

      My intuition on this is that women who identify as bisexual are more likely to report instances and believe that a bad incident was IPV or rape than women who identify as heterosexual. More likely to agree with liberal and/or feminist ideals, etc. and see incidents where their partner acted badly in the worst possible light, although of course not all do. For those that don’t buy into the double standard there’s still pressure to act like relationships with women are golden light and relationships with men are inferior. (And I say this as a bisexual woman. I’ve seen others be very quick to call an argument abusive when it looks like an ordinary bad argument and rudeness. Maybe it was abusive, not my call unless I was the “victim” and then I’d view it as simply as “people act shitty sometimes” but it seems bisexual women are a lot more likely to label it abuse than heterosexual women.) Lesbians have few to no romantic/sexual interactions with men, and calling out female abusers regardless of the gender of the abused is frowned upon and treated non-seriously.

      This dynamic wouldn’t exist for bisexual men, at least not in the same way. I don’t know the stats, but maybe bisexual men have more relationships with women than they do men, on average? It would make sense if they’re not deliberately trying to make their own count about equal, because there will be more women available. They can only date other bisexual or gay men, but they can also date bisexual or heterosexual women, and heterosexual women are by far the biggest group of the four.

      • dndnrsn says:

        Are there any statistics that would answer whether, say, bisexual women are more likely to self-identify as feminists, hold certain opinions, etc? (Also – over in the new OT, this came up – bisexual women report higher %s, sometimes significantly higher, of things that it would be very hard to misconstrue one way or the other, than lesbians. It might be in the eye of the beholder whether a particularly loud argument is just an argument or is abusive, but I can’t imagine that a similar dynamic could exist with regard to being threatened with a knife or gun, among other examples).

        Further, if there is pressure to present female-female relationships in the best light possible, are you saying we should assume that lesbians experience abuse by women at higher rates than the rates they report – which are generally higher than straight women?

        As for bisexual men, while there are more heterosexual + bisexual women out there than there are gay + bisexual men, it is easier for a man to find sex from another man than from a woman, despite the numbers. A fairly average-looking gay man can rack up numbers that among straight guys are rockstar territory, if that’s what he wants, and there’s no reason to believe that bisexual guys would have more difficulty looking for sex with other guys.

        • Aapje says:

          @dndnrsn

          I’m not aware of any survey about this, as they merely tend to distinguish between the number of men and women who identify as feminist. Interestingly, this survey shows that bisexuals self-identify as ‘Democrat’ far less often and favor the Republican party almost twice as often as lesbians and gays.

          I’m not sure what to conclude from this though, when it comes to whether they identify as feminist. They seem to be more anti-establishment, but is that because they are more grey tribe or because they tend to subscribe to a different brand of feminism?

        • The cartel comparison seems imprecise; social ostracism, unlike cartel enforcement, is imposed in large part by people outside the cartel.

          When contracts in restraint of trade were legal, as they were in England into the early 20th century, the cartel contract could be enforced by the courts.

          Beyond that, I expect that a good deal of the enforcement of the norms against non-marital sex was by women, some of whom may have viewed their targets as competitors undercutting them.

          • Aapje says:

            @DavidFriedman

            FGM is generally performed by women. Most likely, a major factor for the practice is to ensure that a woman cannot secretly have intercourse.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Aapje:

            FGM seems mostly intended to make sex less pleasurable, or in the more extreme forms, less possible, for women. Men see a wife who gets less pleasure from sex, or cannot have sex without preparation, as less likely to be unfaithful. Parents, including mothers, then have an incentive to perform or have FGM performed on their daughter – she will be unmarriageable otherwise.

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            At least for the more extreme forms, I would think that the damage/pain during first intercourse would be hard to hide.

    • CatCube says:

      I have to avoid news websites right now because that gets me so fucking angried up.

    • gbdub says:

      A) Wikileaks is a democracy threatening front for Russian propaganda!

      B) Chelsea Manning doesn’t deserve to be punishment for leaking the truth!

      The cognitive dissonance between these two positions is tremendous, and I’m struggling to find a more charitable description of the apparent standard than “leaks are good unless they hurt Democrats”.

      • Urstoff says:

        The negation of both of those seem to be held by a lot of Trump supporters as well.

        • The Nybbler says:

          The negation of the two isn’t contradictory.

          • Iain says:

            How is “leaks are bad when Chelsea Manning does them, but not when Wikileaks does them” any less contradictory than the converse?

          • The Nybbler says:

            You might want to stake those goalposts down better, they’re moving at a high rate of speed.

            The two original statements are here:

            https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/01/15/ot67-comment-core/#comment-454807

          • gbdub says:

            “Leaks are bad when Wikileaks does them” was not my first statement.

            One can believe that Wikileaks is bad, and that Assange has committed crimes (and many Republicans do!) without believing that they are a front for Russia, and/or without believing that they delegitimize the election of Donald Trump and/or without believing the DNC has anyone to blame but their own lax security.

            Furthermore, one can believe that Chelsea Manning had, as a sworn US Army soldier, certain duties and obligations that Australian civilian Julian Assange does not.

            I suppose I should have originally been more careful to distinguish “Chelsea Manning definitely committed a crime, but the original sentence was too harsh” from more a more general “Information deserves to be free! No punishment for whistleblowers!” stance, the latter being the one that really sets off my cognitive dissonance alarms.

          • Iain says:

            @The Nybbler: You are being disingenuous. The two original statements, as worded, are also not contradictory. Instead of accusing me of moving the goalposts, how about you explain why you think the situation is asymmetric. Where is the cognitive dissonance in gbdub’s original post, and why doesn’t it apply to people who hold the opposite stance on both issues?

            @gbdub: Your point that Chelsea Manning was a US soldier with different duties than Assange is a reasonable distinction, albeit not a distinction that you made in your original post. Your point about Russia is not a reasonable distinction. You say that it is possible to believe that leaks are generally bad, without believing that Wikileaks is a front for the Russians. Why does it only go one way? Why is it impossible to believe that leaks are sometimes good, but that these particular leaks appear to have been orchestrated by the Russians in an attempt to manipulate the US elections (which is bad)? If you are willing to grant people the latter position, then you can feel free to disagree with them, but I don’t see how you can accuse them in good faith of being inconsistent.

          • gbdub says:

            So the current stance of many Democrats is that Wikileaks is not only a propaganda arm of Russia, but that its actions in the 2016 election were so damaging as to call into question the legitimacy of the Trump administration and the US election in general.

            At the same time, many of the same Democrats supported pardoning Chelsea Manning on the theory that “whistleblowing” should not be punished, and that essentially the whole concept of classified information is a cover for the US to do dirty things out of public view.

            Now, the Podesta / DNC email “hack” didn’t involve sensitive national security data. To the extent it was damaging, its damage was limited to embarrassing Democrats, potentially in an election altering way.

            The Manning leaks really did involve national security data, which is what espionage statutes are supposed to protect. Chelsea may claim she was “whistleblowing”, but Wikileaks has an equally valid claim to be “whistleblowing” on the DNC (hence the scare quotes for whistleblowing, which in these cases is very much in the eye of the beholder).

            So basically, the Democratic position is that leaking information that embarrasses the DNC is a horrifying outrage that shocks our democracy to its very core, but leaking classified Army documents is “eh, no big deal” and punishing someone for doing so is an injustice worthy of a Presidential pardon. That strikes me as dissonant.

          • Jaskologist says:

            Ask yourself “who, whom?”

            One set of leaks endangered American troops as well as many locals who were foolish enough to cooperate with them.

            The other damaged the political prospects of the DNC.

            (The reaction to the OPM hacks by China also fits this pattern.)

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ gbdub

            Chelsea may claim she was “whistleblowing”, but Wikileaks has an equally valid claim to be “whistleblowing” on the DNC (hence the scare quotes for whistleblowing, which in these cases is very much in the eye of the beholder).

            1. In general, there’s a much better case to be made for whisteblowing on the government than for “whisteblowing”– i.e. spying– on private citizens. The Collateral Murder video, so-called, is the sort of thing citizens ought to know about, while John Podesta’s tastes in art are not.
            2. Wikileaks’ source for the DNC material was the Russian intelligence services, who were trying to influence a US election for the benefit of Putin, a brutal dictator. Manning’s motives, whatever they were, were a lot less sinister.
            3. Manning was tortured by the US military. Even if you think the government was right to prosecute Manning, as I do, the fact that she was tortured makes a strong case for clemency.

            @ Jaskologist

            One set of leaks endangered American troops as well as many locals who were foolish enough to cooperate with them.
            The other damaged the political prospects of the DNC.

            No, the DNC leaks endangered the entire world by helping to place Trump in charge of the republic. They also put a lot of people associated with the DNC at risk of reprisal from the right’s legions of paranoid lunatics: Pizzagate, remember?

          • Iain says:

            @gbdub: I believe this is called outgroup homogeneity? The position that all classified information is by definition illegitimate is limited to a narrow fringe. It does not represent the mainstream, and I am not aware of any elected Democratic officials who support that stance. I suspect, but have no data to prove, that there is a strong overlap between the anti-establishment people on the left who want all classified information to be set free, and the people who supported Sanders over Clinton, hate the DNC, and cheered the leaks.

            The set of people on the left who believe it is legitimate to blow the whistle on war crimes committed by your own government is slightly higher. I think you can fairly characterize the mainstream Democratic position on Manning by saying that some of the things she leaked were potentially justifiable (for example, the Collateral Murder video), but that she also included a lot of rightfully classified information and deserved to be punished for that. She has been punished.

            Note that there is a difference between commuting a sentence and a full pardon. She is getting out of jail early, but it is still the official stance of the US government that she did a bad thing and deserved to be punished for it.

          • JayT says:

            There is a pretty fine line between “what the government is doing” and “what the Democratic National Committee is doing”. I don’t think it’s quite fair to equate the DNC to a private citizen.

            In the Manning case you could argue that some of the whistle blowing was good (eg, the collateral murder video) while some of it was bad (eg, informants being named). however, you could do the same thing with the Podesta emails. It’s probably a good thing for the public to know that the party did what they could to trip up Sanders and colluded with news agencies, while it’s also bad that Podesta’s private life was compromised.

          • Anonymous says:

            Putin, a brutal dictator

            Made me laugh.

          • Nornagest says:

            The negation of the two isn’t contradictory.

            Strictly speaking, the original two aren’t contradictory either. At the object level, there might be good reasons to think that Wikileaks in particular might have been co-opted by nation-state actors or that Manning in particular might deserve clemency — or on the other hand that Wikileaks is not compromised, or that Manning acted recklessly or even treasonously and she deserved what she got. They contradict each other if we try to derive them both from “leaks good” or “leaks bad”, but in every individual case there’s going to be a lot more going on than general principle. It’s not even necessarily contradictory if they’re justified with “leaks good” or “leaks bad”, bearing in mind that there’s a lot more to most people’s decisions than their headline justifications.

            That said, it begins to look awfully suspicious if the individual circumstances of every case just happen to point in a politically convenient direction, and there’s a lot of that going around on both sides of the aisle. But this isn’t news, or it shouldn’t be.

          • TenMinute says:

            No, the DNC leaks endangered the entire world by helping to place Trump in charge of the republic. They also put a lot of people associated with the DNC at risk of reprisal from the right’s legions of paranoid lunatics

            When China hacked the Office of Personnel Management, and made off with all the security clearance background check data from millions of Americans, it wasn’t a problem.

            When someone embarrassed the Democratic Party, it was worth starting WWIII to avenge.

            As if we needed any more evidence what their priorities were, and what parts of government and the media are nothing but wings of the democratic party.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ JayT

            I agree with most of what you say, with the caveat that it’s probably unreasonable to expect someone like Manning to sift through all of the files herself and only pass along the stuff which the public genuinely had a right to know. This responsibility should have fallen on Wikileaks and its media partners, and if information was released that shouldn’t have been released, Manning’s not the one who’s really at fault.

            @ TenMinute

            When China hacked the Office of Personnel Management, and made off with all the security clearance background check data from millions of Americans, it wasn’t a problem.
            When someone embarrassed the Democratic Party, it was worth starting WWIII to avenge.

            I don’t think there’s anyone in the country who believes either of these things.

          • JayT says:

            I don’t know, if Manning didn’t know what was in the files when she released them, then what was the reason to release them at all? If it was just that video that she was particularly concerned about, why didn’t she just release the video?

          • The Nybbler says:

            @JayT:

            Tarry a little; there is something else.
            This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
            The words expressly are ‘a pound of flesh:’
            Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
            But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
            One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
            Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
            Unto the state of Venice.

            This is the standard you would hold whistleblowers/leakers to. It’s not tenable. A whistleblower can’t be expected to redact all the things that shouldn’t be leaked, particularly since this will necessarily be based on a standard devised after the leak. Even if they could do such a thing, such a redacted leak is unlikely to be trusted. For instance, “The Podesta Emails, the Good Parts Edition” is likely to be seen as pure cherrypicking in an attempt to portray the campaign in a false light, even if it isn’t.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            FYI, let’s not pretend that the “collateral murder” video showed any kind of war crime. It was useful propaganda, nothing more.

          • JayT says:

            @The Nybbler
            All I’m saying is, if your leak has the possibility to get innocents killed then you damn well better make sure you are leaking something that is worth that. What good is a leaker that does more harm than good? What great injustice has been solved at the possible cost of the informant’s lives?

            I’m not anti whistle blowing, but I think that whistle blowers have a moral obligation to make sure they aren’t making the world a worse place.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Gladwell’s “Snowberg” scenario strikes me as disingenuous. No matter what Snowden did, you could find a “better” scenario provided you delineated the rules for “better” after the fact.

            I doubt it would have worked anyway. Senator Wyden already knew perfectly well what was going on. Had Snowden come to him, he might have been carefully watched and quietly eased out of the intelligence community rather than going to Russia, but the leaks never would have happened.

            And as for bringing up Ellsberg: “Snowden believes that he has done nothing wrong. I agree wholeheartedly.” — Ellsberg

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/daniel-ellsberg-nsa-leaker-snowden-made-the-right-call/2013/07/07/0b46d96c-e5b7-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html

        • Tekhno says:

          @Urstoff

          Of course, the two parties are symbiotic.

      • Iain says:

        Chelsea Manning has already served more than six years in prison, including a significant period of time in solitary confinement. Commuting her sentence now is hardly an endorsement of leaks.

        • gbdub says:

          The original sentence was for 35 years. Has significant additional information come to light since the trial suggesting that that sentence was 500% too harsh?

          • Iain says:

            Her original sentence allowed for parole after 8 years. She will be released after serving 7.

          • gbdub says:

            And the justification for not following the originally laid out parole schedule is what exactly?

            There are probably thousands of prisoners that “deserve” a year or more knocked off their sentence. What makes this case in particular worthy of a rare presidential pardon?

          • Iain says:

            Well, Chelsea Manning was only one of 209 people who had their sentence commuted yesterday (along with an additional 64 pardons). That brings Obama’s total for clemency recipients up to 1385. Manning had already served more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in US history. Manning has accepted full responsibility for her actions. From a cynical public relations perspective, as the US military is starting to deal with transgender issues more openly, it looks bad that the most prominent trans person associated with the military is behind bars.

            If you need more reasons, I hear that Obama is scheduled to give a press conference today to talk about it.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            From a cynical public relations perspective, as the US military is starting to deal with transgender issues more openly, it looks bad that the most prominent trans person associated with the military is behind bars.

            But that’s insane! That “most prominent trans person” committed espionage and very likely killed numerous informants! If keeping such a person in prison for the length of the prison sentence “looks bad” the proper response is to find out who, specifically is making it “look bad” and why, and stop them.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            It likewise looks bad for the military’s most prominent transgender to look as if they are above the law.

      • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

        Don’t look at the gift-horse in the mouth.

        • The Nybbler says:

          The Trojans would have been well-advised to.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            People are going to keep going “Muh Russia” and “Muh Wikileaks” anyway, so having Manning free is a W regardless of what they do or say. Nobody likes a sore winner.

    • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

      Sure, party. Taxpayers won’t be on the hook for Manning’s gender-reassignment treatment any longer!

  3. Tekhno says:

    Prediction: automation will cause Universities to decline in quality, possibly until they are an actively destructive element of society.

    If everyone is automated out of a job, but we still insist societally on having as many people as possible go to higher education so as to get degrees for non-existent jobs, then University will become a service designed to give people the illusion of status instead, and since there will be no job market to keep this service rigorous, standards may decline until the University becomes a place designed to puff up egos while simultaneously promoting an extended childhood, causing people to become hypersensitive to slights. I think these people might get involved in dubious political activism, and in turn older people might overreact to the “decline in values” and all sorts of horrible shit might happen, like demagogues of various political persuasions being elected to power.

    I seriously think this could be a problem in the future.

    • Silder says:

      Prediction: automation will cause Universities to decline in quality, possibly until they are an actively destructive element of society.

      C’mon, that’s cheating – predictions are supposed to be about the future.

    • Mark says:

      If university isn’t tied to job security or income, and it isn’t intellectually rigorous, how could you possibly derive status from attending?

      • Nornagest says:

        Seems to me that you could say the same thing about e.g. watching ballet?

        (Yes, it’s expensive to see live. But a DVD of a Nutcracker Suite performance costs the same as one of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, and you can’t tell me that choosing one or the other to play on Christmas Eve doesn’t have status implications.)

        • Mark says:

          If it’s about status, about being part of a culture – it can’t be that easy to fake it.
          If I was to start spending all my time watching ballet, I can assure you, my family and friends wouldn’t be particularly impressed (it would lower my status if anything) and, alone, it wouldn’t help to get me in with the nutcracker set.
          Shibboleths have to be difficult, right?
          (Actually I like to think we live in a world where people who watch DVDs of the nutcracker, like it, and nobody else much cares.)

    • Tekhno says:

      @Mark
      Tradition. Memes.

      The illusion may be maintained long after the core purpose has been rendered redundant. Most people already believe that higher education exists to educate people, not just to be a job credentials mill, so the general conception of why University is an absolute societal necessity is based off very romantic ideas.

      • Mark says:

        I like to think that if everything became automated, we’d all just spend our time at symposiums, and that our desire to appeal to people of good taste would prevent us from becoming insufferable shits.

      • Tekhno says:

        I like to think that too.

      • Aapje says:

        I like to think that if everything became automated, we’d all just spend our time at symposiums

        Is that a euphemism for sitting in front of the TV and watching reality shows all day? 😛

    • chriamon says:

      Something strange happened, you must’ve posted this comment prior to 2016 but for some reason it hasn’t shown up until now, after it has already become a reality.

  4. CthulhuChild says:

    Hmm. So a few people have written thinkpieces on how people use issues or products as part of their tribal identity (SSC did one on ebola IIRC?). Seemed reasonable, although I question how far it can go outside of obviously political areas. So it was weird to come across a Breitbart article about Google, read the comments and discover that their predominantly alt-right readership is collectively despises the company.

    http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/01/17/report-google-scaling-back-unprofitable-moonshot-projects-including-boston-dynamics-and-google-fiber/

    Even weirder: realizing all my liberal friends love Google.

      • CthulhuChild says:

        Fair enough. Allthough their hatred is not directed at google, rather “gentrification”.

        Not that I understand that either, since gentrification appears to just be urban renewal with visible price tag. But what do I know.

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      The comments don’t look like they hate Google. I see one “Google – liberal worthless theft derived company!” And a few others critical of their business practices in a nonpartisan way. And a few sad that Google is killing their moonshots.

    • Well... says:

      I’m a DuckDuckGo user, and avoid Googling if I can help it. I’d be interested to know if DDG users tend toward a particular direction politically.

      The only other person I know who consistently uses DDG is my boss. Our politics are different, but relatively close in the wider scheme of “politics of people I work with.”

      • Aapje says:

        @Well

        I expect that DDG users are heavily anti-authoritarian, which isn’t trait exclusive to one political ideology.

      • Anonymous says:

        I use Startpage, because even without personalized spying, Google’s results are good. Not so much DDG; I used DDG and was disappointed at the quality of the results I was getting.

  5. What are some cultural health trends that you believe to be myths, and what are your explanations for why they appear to be true for lots of people? Here is three of mine

    1. Icing injuries helps recovery rates

    2. Lowering calories somehow reduces metabolism enough to offset weight loss

    3. Saturated fats are these terrible things for you whose intake needs to be watched

    The evidence for all of these is in that terrible contradictory land of medicine that happens too often.

    The first one, icing injuries, is horrifically contradictory. A review of the literature seems to show that there *may* be very slight effects for athletic injuries…with some research showing negative effects as it appears excessive icing of an area may dampen typical inflammatory processes along with the obvious possible damage of frost-bite for those over-eager in icing application.

    1
    What I think is really happening, for the day to day basis, is sociological injury signalling and some internal emotional effect produced by the ritual *of* icing that affirms to people both outside and inside that “You need to stop pushing yourself”. Or, given the same injury, your idiot football/wresting coach won’t push you to run on that knee if you show you are icing it, but will do so without visible signs of injury prevention. For injuries done on your own, with no coach, its hard to say why. But it does appear to lower the pain thought to be on the area itself with a temporary numbing effect, and lets you focus on the outside cold on the area.
    My bet is that icing is, with no sociology behind it, a slight bad thing for non-surgical injuries, due to potentially extreme temperature fiddling and frostbite potential.
    2
    For calories greatly reducing metabolism to the point of effecting metabolism, its really hard to see how this insanity has taken widespread. When there is no physical training done, sure it seems *something* bad happens to muscularity levels, which may produce a secondary metabolism effect.
    Partly, I think this is explained by energy levels. People just don’t feel to work out as hard when having a hungered feeling to them.
    I believe mostly this may be best descried as a human weakness. People hate not splurging on foods they like for weeks at a time, and tell themselves after the fact that they are *actually* helping lose weight eating that hotdog/ice cream cone every once in awhile. And then people selling a book telling others what they want to hear publish just that.

    3
    I think number three is explained, at least partly, by this. Namely, it typically takes both higher intelligence and empathy and conscientiousness then the median human for a male to seriously consider vegetarinism, and lower saturated fat intake, and studies simply don’t account for effects such as that. I also believe that perhaps levels of preservatives/processing effects in foods like hot dogs *might* have negative effects over a lifetime. Then of course, there is the bias(that I am sympathetic to) of researches in the biological sciences typically being sympathetic to animal life, and emotionally preferring studies that show saturated fat produced from factory farming methods to be bad for you.

    • Dr Dealgood says:

      I think 2 might be based on a confusion between two definitions of metabolism. I have a low confidence in this explanation but it’s the best I have.

      I know a few people doing metabolic programming studies, and one of the more dramatic findings I remember was comparing mice who had been given a “western diet” formula as pups to those with a generic formula or breast milk. When they were fed a controlled diet their weights were roughly comparable*. But when some of the adult mice were allowed to eat ad libitum the “western diet” mice ballooned up out of control while the other mice maintained roughly the same weight as before.

      (I can try to hunt down the paper later tonight. If anyone is interested that is; otherwise I’ll work on my D&D campaign.)

      That’s certainly a metabolic effect but it’s not metabolic the way we normally think about it. There’s no principled reason to say that metabolic effects on appetite don’t count if you’re considering a human as a living organism rather than as a theoretical rational actor.

      *I think there was a small but statistically significant increase but don’t quote me on that

    • dndnrsn says:

      I think your second example is a case where people take something that is heavily psychological, and make it physiological (not that the line between these is easily drawn). The more you deprive yourself, the more chance you’ll snap and go on a binge. The purpose of a cheat meal, free meal, whatever is to take a break from only eating tuna or whatever.

      A lot of talk about dieting makes it sound like dieting is this physical impossibility, and basically implies that our bodies are able to break the laws of thermodynamics. When, in fact, it’s the psychological side of things that’s the tricky part.

      Your third example – the explanation I’ve read is that processed meats tend to be worse for you, red meat tends to be eaten in processed form more than fish or fowl, and red meat contains more saturated fat, by and large.

      • Randy M says:

        As you say, physiology is hard to separate from psychology. Is will power wholly psychological? Is pain tolerance? Obviously not; choice matters a lot, otherwise hunger strikes wouldn’t be a thing, but there’s widely varying levels of resistance to internal stimuli, probably for largely biological reasons.

    • Randy M says:

      Dietary cholesterol affecting blood serum cholesterol is no longer the official view, but it is widely held enough for egg white omelette to be considered a healthier option.

      • dndnrsn says:

        Well, cutting out fat is a way to cut out calories. So if one is trying to lose weight, it’s the healthier option, maybe. On the other hand, the 6 1/2 grams of fat in a jumbo egg total out to about 175 cal for a three-egg omelette versus one with no fat from the eggs. Unless someone is smashing an omelette a day, this is probably not the “weak link” in anyone’s caloric intake.

        • Randy M says:

          There’s more to life than calories. Egg yolk have lots of nutrients.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I’m not disagreeing with you. Even now that the “fat is bad” train is losing steam, though, some people probably see the extra calories in a whole egg and get scared.

    • TenMinute says:

      sociological injury signalling

      Agreed. Waddling around with 10lb of ice strapped to your knee seems to be the only way college athletes can catch a break.

    • Cadie says:

      There is a small decrease in basal metabolism when you reduce caloric intake. Some of this is because as a person loses weight, their new body weight requires less energy to maintain. They might have less energy and unconsciously be slightly less active throughout the day. The same amount of exercise burns fewer calories at a lower weight. The rest is the body’s response to getting less food. But this decrease alone isn’t enough to stop or reverse weight loss; it simply slows it down. Which was good for our ancestors because if they had less food for a long time, it was probably because food wasn’t plentiful, and losing weight more slowly would have helped them survive.

      It’s easy to get frustrated when necessary weight loss slows down, and sometimes it’s balanced out by temporary weight “gain” in the form of water retention. A lot of obese people retain extra water, and women often gain some in the premenstrual period regardless of weight, though in that case it comes off again quickly in a few days or a week. So when you’re losing 2 lb/week, and that slows down over time as you lose the first 50 pounds and your metabolism slows some, and then you lose 1/2 lb/week which easily gets lost in the noise of water weight / food in your intestines / randomness, it looks like you’re not losing any for awhile. The person would need to eat less to keep losing weight, or be ready to wait a very long time, but it’s not because their metabolism turned to crap and they can no longer lose anything. It’s mostly because their body is smaller and needs less, so they’ll have to cut even lower to lose significant weight; they need to make their calculations based on current weight and not the old one.

      Then there’s gut bacteria changes and stuff like that, which are hard to predict and can be good or bad.

  6. How do school systems decide what foods to put into students meals? Is it food pyramid based? Vegetable-fruit serving based (which is subject to oddities like putting two foods with the same nutrient bias and calling them different)

    Does any district do it rationally, such as putting nutritional USDA information into a large linear-algebra minimization equation and maximizing a balance of vitamins/minerals with a variety of fats and proteins while making cost the variable to minimize, with perhaps calorie constraints*?

    *Possibly stupid to minimize fats/proteins/carbs after some degree, due to Flynn Effect/opportunistic biological growth reasons.

    • andrewflicker says:

      Most US schools simply purchase meals / meal-planning from corporate vendors, and they do indeed use linear algebra cost-minimization methods to meet the US federal dietary requirements for public schools.

      • TenMinute says:

        federal dietary requirements

        And as they say: garbage in, garbage out, no matter how rigorous your methodology.

      • Then why does the public conversation, even with comment by school officials, seem dominated by the vague vegetable serving quotient?

        I guess your average school official might not think of such a thing, but would contract to a company that does.

  7. Mark says:

    In general, wouldn’t you expect animals that needed to protect themselves from light to have incredibly shiny white skin?

    A black layer absorbing the light before it can do damage seems a bit obscure.

    Does camouflage come into it? I guess people in colder environments are wearing clothes anyway, so white skin not such a disadvantage.

    • Nornagest says:

      I’m not an expert, but sunburn and skin cancer aren’t caused by overheating, but rather by DNA damage: it’s basically a radiation burn. Pale skin doesn’t protect as well because it’s not only paler but also more translucent, meaning that light, including UV light, has an easier time penetrating the dead upper layers of skin to reach the living tissues underneath. A surface layer with high albedo in the UV range would solve that problem for you, and zinc oxide sunscreen works that way, but absorbing rather than reflecting the UV before it gets to your squishy DNA bits will work just as well. Organic sunscreen works like that, and melanin does too.

      It might just be a coincidence that the solution evolution happened to hit upon for our species was absorptive rather than reflective. But most of the highly reflective compounds I know about are metal oxides, which would be biologically expensive; on the other hand there are many highly absorptive organic compounds. Carbon black for example is literally pure C.

  8. Thegnskald says:

    In defense of, and in criticism of, social justice.

    First, the broad goals of SJ look, to me, unobjectionable; reduce prejudice, promote equality, raise the station of the lowest in our society. This is literally leftism; these are ideals we all aspire to.

    The issue is that SJ represents a massive and nebulous reserve of previously unclaimed social power – the power to represent the underrepresented. Social Justice Warriors are people tapping into that power; some seek to do good, some seek to do ill, a depressing number seem to seek petty vengeance on personal and tribal enemies. And white people are grossly overrepresented in the SJW group; this doesn’t solve the underrepresentation issue, it exaggerates it.

    Worse still, the Social Justice movement has become it’s own tribe, independent of the actual policies it claims to espouse. As a movement, it fails entirely to live up to its ideals; as a tribe, it has become a self-reinforcing monster, full of people who claim to be trans-black and other sordid things, making a mockery of the very underrepresentation it should be working to correct.

    And even worse still, as a tribe, it has been largely subverted to corporate interests. I made reference before to the fact that feminism at this point is basically serving corporate interests; the same is true of SJ as a whole. Feminism is – or rather was – equality. Equality doesn’t mean we elect a woman because she’s a woman, it means we elect a competent person without regard for gender. Yet the Democratic establishment narrative pretended – for its own interests – that feminism was the strawman its opponent’s frequently attack it as, a blatant and unapolagetic interest group serving the interests of the women of the 1%.

    Leftism is, fundamentally, about class. The poor black man has more in common with the poor white woman than a poor white man has in common with a rich white man, yet we have allowed the class interests of the wealthiest to redefine leftism to be a constant identity war between races, genders, religions – whatever keeps people from looking at class.

    Social Justice is about justice, and justice is blind. That thing that currently wears the skin of social justice is not social justice, it is an amalgamation of corporate and upper class interests, paraded about by upper middle class children who think social justice is an entitlement to have other people pay for their upper middle class educations which poor people don’t have the educational and social background to successfully attend, who think social justice means that white people can “identify” as black and pretend that it is something other than racism, who fight over who is most oppressed in universities that the truly oppressed in our society can’t attend.

    I’m not preaching to the choir here; if you don’t think SJ has valid criticisms of society, don’t be a cheerleader for yet another criticism of your tribal enemies. I’m preaching to the heretics, so to speak; the people here who complain angrily about how SJ is treated here. The critics of SJ, while they include a lot of illiberal right-wing people, also include a hell of a lot of us who agree with all of its stated goals, we just don’t agree with its priorities, means, or proponents. I think that is pretty much most of the commentariat here.

    It is SJ-as-a-tribe that is problematic. When corporations are leveraging SJ superweapons to silence criticism of mediocre products and SJ cheers them on, SJ has been co-opted. When an unapolagetic corporatist leverages SJ superweapons in her fight with another corporatist and SJ cheers her on, SJ has been co-opted. This is one of the main things the alt-right gets right, even as it gets it horribly wrong; the Left isn’t the “cathedral”, the Left is just another set of ideals that the establishment has co-opted to further its own ends, and we need to stop tolerating those in power using the injustices they help perpetuate to keep themselves in power. That isn’t social justice, that’s a horrible parody of everything social justice is supposed to stand for.

    When you attack critics of modern corporate feminism as being anti-woman, you aren’t standing up for women, you are standing up for the exploitation of women’s suffering for profit. Likewise SJ more broadly, which at this point is just upper middle class people thinking being oppressed is cool and trying to participate.

    • Jordan D. says:

      I find this criticism partially justifiable and partially incoherent.

      Things I would agree with:
      1) ‘Social Justice’ is a nebulous concept which is often-abused to rally support to the one who wants to wield it
      2) Those who take up the banner of social justice commonly fail to live up to the high ideals they espouse (but see, e.g., every movement which has ever had high ideals)
      3) Increasing tribalism and tribal conflicts is a bad thing generally

      I’m not sure how to respond or think about your claim that social justice has been “co-opted by corporatists” because I have no idea what that means. It looks like you’ve got examples in mind, but I don’t know what they are. There’s also a criticism of the Democratic Party’s promotion of Clinton in there, but once again I’m not actually sure what it is.

      Finally, there’s a point in there implicitly arguing that social justice should focus on economic classes and that identity politics are just the work of the wealthy conspiracy to keep the proletariat fighting among one another. I can see a compelling argument that a movement seeking to increase equality needs to focus on economics above all else, but I think you need to actually make the case. It’s clear that there are at least a large plurality of people who wouldn’t agree that money trumps race or gender, and it makes more sense to convince those people than berate them.

      • Thegnskald says:

        I have little interest in convincing the upper middle classes they aren’t oppressed, particularly when they are so determined to prove they are.

      • Deiseach says:

        It’s clear that there are at least a large plurality of people who wouldn’t agree that money trumps race or gender, and it makes more sense to convince those people than berate them.

        I do wonder how many of these are white people in reasonably comfortable situations who can honestly say that their worst problem is that they can’t use the public bathroom of their choice, or who are enthusiastic about being “good allies” and engaging in public protests about bathrooms, rather than class and economic struggle, because it’s a lot easier to get a bill passed saying “everyone can use whatever bathroom they like regardless of gender” than reversing globalism or engaging with the problem of “so what will all these surplus to labour requirement people live on while they’re waiting for the UBI to drop out of the sky?”

        • Le Maistre Chat says:

          Yeah, no animal wants to do more work than necessary, so if a society makes oppression the source of moral authority, the question an affluent person will ask themself is “what’s the easiest way to be seen as oppressed?”

        • gbdub says:

          Heck, many of the persons of color in social justice movements are pretty damn privileged themselves. The guy who led the U of Missouri protests was the son of a millionaire.

          Or consider the cast of Hamilton‘s lecture to Mike Pence. Lin Manuel Miranda comes from a politically connected family and attended Wesleyan (total annual cost of attendance: $64,163).

          Which isn’t to say that these people never had issues or faced discrimination, but in the scheme of things they’re doing pretty well and it takes a certain chutzpah to talk down to an unemployed factory worker because he’s white, male, and lacks a college credential.

          So there is certainly an aspect of the social justice movement that seems to be mostly about signalling between privileged people – a game totally detached from the actual people it is purportedly about.

          • TenMinute says:

            A commenter on my student newspaper shut down a SocJuser preaching “the necessity of violent resistance for us oppressed” by pointing out she is a brahmin-caste second generation New Englander from a neighborhood where the median income is $150,000.

            It doesn’t take chutzpah, just the massive contempt of a privileged elite who have discovered a myth that makes them the moral superiors of the disgusting proles.

          • cassander says:

            >So there is certainly an aspect of the social justice movement that seems to be mostly about signalling between privileged people – a game totally detached from the actual people it is purportedly about.

            I’m reminded of Bolsheviks putting on leather jackets that would cost an actual worker a year’s salary.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            Nothing could be more echt-SJ than the division of the entire human race into Them What Is Allowed To Complain and Them What Is Not Allowed To Complain. It’s a saving grace of us illiberal right-wing people that we’re old-fashioned enough to think that (1) If you’ve personally been mistreated in some way, you get to complain about that no matter who you are, and (2) But nothing more than that.

          • Aapje says:

            @Cerebral Paul Z

            I would argue that the biggest difference between MRAs and SJ people might be that the former tend to be individualist and the latter collectivist.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      FYI, the Trots accused the 1968 version of SJWs of substitutionism, when they first appeared and wrote off the working class as hopelessly reactionary, putting their faith in a socialist revolution by such non-class social groups as students and immigrants.

    • Sandy says:

      First, the broad goals of SJ look, to me, unobjectionable; reduce prejudice, promote equality, raise the station of the lowest in our society. This is literally leftism; these are ideals we all aspire to.

      There were numerous kings and dictators throughout history who pursued these ideals; I’m not sure any of them could be called leftist. Akbar, Dom Pedro II, Lee Kuan Yew — would you call any of these people leftists?

      What’s a left-right debate without hierarchies? I’ve always believed the left-right divide is at its most basic level about hierarchies and the justness of hierarchies. In a perfectly homogeneous society, hierarchies will emerge that create a labor class and a capital class, or whatever economic stratification you can choose. The general right-wing view will be that these hierarchies are natural, that some people will be smarter or gutsier or more hardworking and they’ll reap the rewards by ascending into the capital class, and to maintain their position in the capital class they’ll have to engage in profitable ventures that employ the labor class. Hierarchies like this aren’t just natural; they’re essential, because you have to incentivize the bold and the clever to create these ventures for the good of your society.

      On the other hand, the general left-wing view will note that it’s very hard to break free of the class you were born into, that most don’t, and that it isn’t necessarily about how smart you are or how many risks you’re willing to take, because there are plenty of stupid cowards in the capital class who were born into it, and their stupid coward children enjoy the benefits of the capital class for their entire lives as well simply because they were born into it too. Sometimes you just have a group of greedy bastards working together to horde wealth for themselves. The left-wing answer to such hierarchies is to tear them down through redistribution, to give power and autonomy to the labor class. The clash between the two ends of the spectrum is basically whether power structures, economic or social, should be maintained or erased. Democracy is essentially leftist, created in opposition to monarchy.

      In a society that isn’t perfectly homogeneous, additional complicating factors will rear their head, like race. The left view is that all groups are created equal and so under the same circumstances, they should exhibit the same or similar outcomes. If they don’t exhibit the same outcomes, the only acceptable answer in the left view is that one group is being oppressed in a way that suppresses their full potential. The right-wing view is that groups aren’t created equal and we shouldn’t expect equal outcomes. Maybe blacks or women just aren’t as capable as whites or men and will never achieve the same level of success. Few in American politics will ever profess to believing this out loud, it is political suicide, and so most American politicians are social leftists, even the Republicans. Democracy functions to quash rightism; nobody likes being told that they don’t achieve equal outcomes because they’re inferior, and they’ll retaliate with their votes. As to what to do with this information, you can oppress groups you believe are inferior, or you can dial down the equality talk and try to manage their expectations — as Lee Kuan Yew said:

      If I tell Singaporeans – we are all equal regardless of race, language, religion, culture. Then they will say,”Look, I’m doing poorly. You are responsible.” But I can show that from British times, certain groups have always done poorly, in mathematics and in science. But I’m not God, I can’t change you. But I can encourage you, give you extra help to make you do, say maybe, 20% better.

      The Social Justice movement, in my view, seeks to challenge the structures of social and cultural power, ostensibly to contemplate “traditional” leftism’s challenge to economic and political power, but inevitably abandoning the latter because many of the flagbearers of Social Justice are quite bourgeoisie in their own way. Multiculturalism and representation in media are big planks of the Social Justice platform because they flow from the contemporary left view that all cultures are created equal, while the right view is going to be that no, cultures are not created equal, some are clearly more dysfunctional and unfit for peaceful society than others, and we should actively discourage the spread of such cultures in favor of cultures with a more suitable track record. Sometimes the oppressed are oppressing themselves with a terrible culture, and the best thing you can do for them would be to divorce them from it and substitute it with a different culture, but then the shrieking about oppression starts anew.

      • Maybe blacks or women just aren’t as capable as whites or men and will never achieve the same level of success.

        I don’t think that is a fair statement of the right wing position with regard to women. It’s more “maybe women are different from men in ways that will lead to their choosing different roles and succeeding in different ways.”

        More accurate with regard to blacks.

    • When corporations are leveraging SJ superweapons to silence criticism of mediocre products and SJ cheers them on, SJ has been co-opted.

      Could you give an example?

      • Thegnskald says:

        For an example that has come up here before, Sony accusing reviewers who gave the Ghostbusters remake a mediocre rating of sexism.

        It is hardly the first case, just one of the more obvious ones. A lot of corporations have figured out that they can immunize themselves against criticism by framing what they do in terms of representing an oppressed group.

        • tscharf says:

          That’s kind of funny. I always discount ratings on movies that have anything to do with the holocaust, LBTGQ, or race. They seem to always get artificially high reviews. I wonder if anyone has tried to run the numbers on that potential bias.

      • gbdub says:

        I’d say the recent spate of “real women” ad campaigns and ads prominently featuring gay couples could be an example of co-opting social justice themes for corporate ends.

        But I’m not sure how much that necessarily takes away from social justice per se – it’s just companies latching on to a popular new thing, and that’s gone on forever.

        To the extent that it’s a problem, it would be in the sense of the movement focusing too much energy on relatively superficial issues (e.g. media representation of technically overweight but still very attractive people) instead of more immediate concerns of the truly oppressed.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      I agree that class-based social analysis is important, and that SJWs appear to be a bunch of affluent & classist douchecanoes. OTOH, this doesn’t make Marxism-Leninism right. Let’s not deny that the Communist states consistently displayed a megacidal ignorance of economics that denies their ideology any legitimacy to decent people.
      Of course, on the SJ side, we should draw a moral distinction between the douchey classism of the moderates who just want to reform capitalist society so that women have 50% of the power, African-Americans 12% of the power in the United States, homosexuals ???% and the radicals, those with beliefs like “I want white genocide.”

    • tscharf says:

      I don’t get the corporate angle as well, although I suppose it is about where the SJW’s weld their influence.

      There is a lot of implicit criticism of the right that they are “against” equality because they don’t adhere to certain SJW tenets, specifically the idea of protected classes require certain privileges in order to be “more equal”. On the right you will get mostly “treat all people equally regardless of identity”. This position is increasingly seen as prejudiced by some in the SJW movement which is counterproductive, it alienates potential allies and makes the tent smaller. Some of the more extreme positions in SJW seem to more about power welding within that tribe, kind of a topper contest in who can denounce the white man with the most gusto. This is definitely a “if you aren’t with us you are against us” movement in my view.

      It’s gotten to be a bit of dogma that measurable differences in outcomes is a prima facie case for racism, sexism, etc. and that social dysfunction or social preferences in the identity group shall not be considered as a cause. This has become so tiresome that most people just disengage from the debate, because it has become a lecture instead.

      Case in point is the focus on police shootings that comprise a tiny number of total shootings in black communities. This incoherent conversation results in perverse incentives with results such as the Chicago police stepping back in the midst of the worst crime wave in two decades. The Chicago police have some real issues to deal with, but the community has much worse internal dysfunction that affect the lives of many more people. SJW seems to have a singular focus on external forces without regard to internal forces.

      • Aapje says:

        It’s gotten to be a bit of dogma that measurable differences in outcomes is a prima facie case for racism, sexism, etc.

        Except when the differences disfavor white people and/or men, then it’s because they have bad culture. Then most SJ people suddenly say things that they won’t allowed to be said about SJ ingroups.

        SJW seems to have a singular focus on external forces without regard to internal forces.

        It’s amusing that if you bring up violence against men, the response is almost always: ‘but it’s men doing it to other men.’ The people who use that argument seem to truly believe that the statement is sufficient to dismiss the issue from consideration.

        It really shows that they don’t care much about victims, but about victimhood of one group by the other.

        • gbdub says:

          Your second to last paragraph is an excellent example since it directly unmasks a common motte-and-bailey around feminism. That motte being “feminism is for everyone, because patriarchy makes everyone worse off”. Were that really your core belief, then men doing violence to other men in our long sordid history of bloody status games has to be one of the greatest and most pressing harms of patriarchy. Addressing that would be far more important than e.g. guaranteeing no one has a co-pay for birth control pills.

          EDIT: and I don’t mean to imply that serious feminists don’t consider inter-male violence, clearly they do. Just that it doesn’t dominate the narrative the way that reproductive issues do. And your more-commonly encountered Facebook feminist rarely seems to engage the issue more deeply “if women ran things there’d be no wars!”

          • Aapje says:

            At my most charitable, I would argue that they simply see male on male violence as not being a social justice issue, because they define social justice as ending oppression of one group by another.

            When I’m a little less charitable, I consider this a completely inappropriate response when there is already a huge imbalance in government resources favoring services to help women and they actively fight against a more fair distribution of funds. So they are not neutral bystanders who are merely not helping; they actively work against it.

          • Protagoras says:

            A lot of social justice types are in favor of gun control, because they believe fewer guns will mean fewer people being fatally shot (whether that’s true or not isn’t relevant here, since we’re talking about social justice motivations). This seems to be a popular issue among them even though most are surely aware that most gun violence is men shooting other men.

          • Randy M says:

            because they believe fewer guns will mean fewer people being fatally shot (whether that’s true or not isn’t relevant here, since we’re talking about social justice motivations). This seems to be a popular issue among them even though most are surely aware that most gun violence is men shooting other men.

            You are assuming your conclusion. Perhaps they support gun control because they think it will lead to less chance of them, personally being shot. Or because of less chance of The Children accidentally getting shot. Or less chance of violent rapes. Or less chance of an overthrow of the Federal Government by violent men.

          • Aapje says:

            @Protagoras

            They are pro gun control merely because they are left wing and that is the appropriate position for them. I never see them present it as a SJ issue and it is not typically a topic that they’ll breach of their own accord.

          • Iain says:

            Similarly, I suspect that a disproportionate percentage of people working to eliminate prison rape would consider themselves feminists.

            Complaining about people who are working to solve one problem because you personally feel that another problem is more important is a remarkably lazy form of criticism. It’s particularly vexing when the group being criticized actually tends to be significantly better on your pet issue than the average member of society.

            @Aapje:

            They are pro gun control merely because they are left wing and that is the appropriate position for them. I never see them present it as a SJ issue and it is not typically a topic that they’ll breach of their own accord.

            Your infallible insight into the beliefs and motivations of others remains a miracle to behold.

          • Aapje says:

            @Iain

            1. A substantial amount of sexual assault of men in prisons is female guards with prisoners, actually, especially in youth facilities. Many feminists deny that this is possible and that only men can rape.

            2. This is a typical example of pro-feminists claiming that people that do good things must be feminists, because of their own stereotypes that they ought to do this. This is just wishful thinking, not a proper argument.

            3. I’ve very often seen feminists claim that substantial number of men are only raped in prison, not elsewhere in society. This conveniently lets them ignore male victims when they focus on society outside of prison and ‘ghetto‘ the issue of male rape. When a group makes it harder to address most of an issue, they don’t get to claim moral superiority for addressing the smaller part that they do recognize because it fits their agenda.

            4. My complaint is not that feminists merely have different priorities, it’s that they often fight against people who want to solve a different problem, because they feel that it distracts from feminist priorities.

          • Philosophisticat says:

            @Aapje

            What percentage of feminists do you think would agree with the claim: “It is impossible for a female prison guard to sexually assault a male juvenile prisoner”?

          • gbdub says:

            @Iain:
            There’s nothing wrong with caring about your particular pet issue to the exclusion of other things. The problem only comes in when you say “Feminism is good for everyone!” when really you only care about “women’s issues”. And I’m not claiming feminists are pro-prison rape or even ambivalent about it. Just that it’s a marginal issue for feminists in general compared to issues that specifically affect women. And that’s fine! But they should abandon the “good for everyone” motte for intellectual honesty’s sake.

          • Iain says:

            @Aapje: If you often see it, please find me a case of feminists fighting against people who want to solve a different problem, in a case where that different problem is not simply being used as a rhetorical bludgeon against feminism.

            As for prison rape advocates: I am quite confident that feminists are over-represented among the set of people who make the argument that prison rape is not funny or just. I admit that I made a small leap in assuming that this carried over to actual advocacy. If you can find a source that contradicts my assumption, I’m all ears.

          • gbdub says:

            @Protagoras
            Well, most “gun violence” actually consists of men shooting themselves, but I get your point.

            Still, I don’t think gun control is really a central social justice issue – I mean, the dictionary definition of social justice is something like “equitable distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges throughout society”.

            Now I think there are a lot of SJ advocates who are also gun control advocates, and therefore it makes sense for them to try to talk about it in that language. But most attempts seem strained to me – basically, an attempt to paint gun violence as a “public health” issue that has a disparate impact on minorities and other vulnerable groups.

            But that framing, I think, says something interesting, since it’s trying to assign blame for mostly inter-group violence to an external source (in this case gun availability). And in a way that supports the anti-SJW point, that there are cultures it’s okay to criticize and cultures that are off-limits, lest blame be assigned to an unprivileged group.

            Anyway I think it’s fine to be a social justice advocate and it’s fine to be a gun control advocate, but attempts to link the two fall flat to me.

          • Iain says:

            @gbdub: It is possible for feminism to help both men and women while helping women more. It is true that many feminist causes are primarily aimed at helping women; that doesn’t mean that men can’t also benefit. A quick example: feminists have fought to make child rearing a thing that both parents do, not just the mother. That change has made it more socially acceptable for fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives, also helping men.

          • gbdub says:

            @Iain
            I don’t disagree, and again I don’t believe that the fact that feminism mostly helps women ipso facto discredits feminism.

            But to the extent that feminism helps men, it still does not seem to me a core part of their advocacy – it’s more of a side effect. Benefits toward men are in my experience mostly brought up in defense against the notion that feminists are misandrists. But in practice, feminists are quite willing to propose policies that unfairly hurt men if they help women (e.g. promoting campus kangaroo courts for sex assault). Or to just ignore aspects of patriarchy that hurt men (e.g. strong advocacy for gender equality in STEM, crickets on male under-representation in non-MD healthcare and primary/secondary education. Pro women in combat, anti women forced into combat).

            In other words, “feminism helps men too!” is a handy weapon against anti-feminists (and not strictly false either, as you correctly note). But it’s not a core belief that seems to motivate much direct action or advocacy. Hence I think the motte-and-bailey description is apt.

          • Jiro says:

            But most attempts seem strained to me – basically, an attempt to paint gun violence as a “public health” issue that has a disparate impact on minorities and other vulnerable groups.

            They paint gun violence as a “public health” issue because “public health” was the excuse used for the American Medical Association to support gun control.

          • TenMinute says:

            Gun control is, however, on the list of “106 Things You Can Do To Bring About The Queer Revolution (#28 will offend you!)”

            Shame they couldn’t reach and come up with two more, for some Buddhist numerological significance.

          • Aapje says:

            @Philosophisticat

            What percentage of feminists do you think would agree with the claim: “It is impossible for a female prison guard to sexually assault a male juvenile prisoner”?

            As a rare exception that proves the rule? Most of them.

            As a thing that happens fairly frequently? Very few of them, if my experience of discussions with them is any indication.

          • Aapje says:

            @Iain

            If you often see it, please find me a case of feminists fighting against people who want to solve a different problem, in a case where that different problem is not simply being used as a rhetorical bludgeon against feminism.

            Here you go:

            http://www.nouse.co.uk/2015/11/16/open-letter-blasts-universitys-decision-to-mark-international-mens-day-read-it-here/

            Please note how one argument is that people should not be allowed to address gender issues outside of feminism. Another argument is that “‘gender equality is for everyone’ ­echoes misogynistic rhetoric.” Taking offense at such an egalitarian statement clearly demonstrates that he real concern is that the exclusive focus is taken off women.

            I am quite confident that feminists are over-represented among the set of people who make the argument that prison rape is not funny or just.

            You are completely ignoring my argument that many feminists minimize male rape by denying a large portion of the male victims, so that they don’t have to address it in most of their efforts (which includes taking control of my tax money and diverting it mainly to services for women). Your weak claim that they usually disapprove of prison rape (which I have never denied) is completely insufficient to offset the harm that is being done, IMHO.

            PS. This is also a good paper, by a frustrated domestic violence researcher who recounts his lifetime of experience with scientific evidence of gender symmetry being denied, concealed, and distorted, by ideologically motivated/biased researchers.

            PS2. Like gbdub, I’m fine with people choosing to only focus on women’s issues. What offends me is when people pretend to care about men’s issues, but merely as a ploy to prevent men from getting similar support; when facts/science is manipulated to justify unfairness; etc, etc. Note that I’m not claiming that feminists necessarily do this on purpose, but rather that a very sick culture developed that has an auto-immune system that ejects ’emperor has no clothes’ people and defends bad actors.

          • Philosophisticat says:

            @Aapje

            I can’t parse your reply as an answer to my question.

            You claimed that many feminists think it is impossible for a female prison guard to sexually assault a male juvenile in a youth prison.

            I wondered how common you thought this belief was.

            You seem to have misheard the question as “how many feminists think that female prison guards sometimes sexually assault male juveniles?”

            Thinking that it’s rare for male juveniles to be sexually assaulted by female prison guards is a very different thought from thinking that it is impossible for male juveniles to be sexually assaulted by female prison guards.

            I can’t help but suspect that you deliberately misheard the question because you realize that claiming that many feminists believe the latter thing is indefensible (which it is), so you substituted a weaker claim that was at least plausible. If so, shame on you. If not, be more careful about falsely attributing absurd beliefs to those you disagree with.

          • Aapje says:

            @Philosophisticat

            I admit that my initial statement was too strong and went further than my actual beliefs. I apologize.

            In my defense, the people to whom I was objecting typically make use of a motte-and-bailey to claim that women are not perpetrators; where upon giving further questioning, they admit that this happens in rare cases. However, it was wrong for me to merely argue against the bailey.

          • Iain says:

            @Aapje: That first link is exactly the kind of nonsense I was talking about with my caveat about rhetorical bludgeons against feminism. Do you honestly believe that the people who were proposing International Men’s Day care deeply about the under-representation of men as academic support staff? The worst thing you can say about the open letter is that the people who wrote it were trolled and swallowed the bait. Here is a better response.

            The paper is a much better example. I think your metaphor of an auto-immune disorder is a reasonable one. But let’s remember that immune systems exist for a reason. The author of that paper is very clear about the fact that the harms of partner violence are asymmetrically distributed: “the greater adverse effect of physical PV on women is an extremely important difference, and it indicates the need to continue to provide more services for women victims of PV than for men victims.” And yet you are citing it in a post where you complain about how governments take control of your tax money and direct it mainly to services for women. Maybe the obvious implication is not what you meant — but there are people out there who do mean it, and who like to use cherry-picked statistics to argue that resources should be pulled away from domestic violence against women and applied to domestic violence against men. That’s not what the data says either. A lot of feminist defensiveness can be explained (though not excused) by looking at what the people on the other side are proposing we actually do.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Philosophisticat/Aapje:

            Equivocation has snuck in without either of you intending or noticing it.

            “Sexual assault” is a broader crime than “rape” –
            rape is a subset of sexual assault. Rape, by the books, usually involves penetration; in a situation where an unwilling man is the penetrative partner, and rape is a crime on the books (some jurisdictions have replaced rape and various other sexual crimes with varying degrees of sexual assault), this is generally not counted as rape.

            Example: the CDC’s NISVS (see section 2) lists rape and “other sexual violence” as separate crimes, with “made to penetrate” under the latter.

            So, there are definitely people who think it is possible for a woman or girl to sexually assault a man or boy, but not to rape a man or boy.

            Most people do not really differentiate between “sexual assault” and “rape” with the result that statistics like “x number of y type of people are sexually assaulted every year” are generally interpreted as “x number of y type of people are raped every year”. Sometimes this is unintentional, but frankly I think some people do it intentionally, because sexual assault (as a whole, or non-rape sexual assault) is far more common than rape.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Iain:

            Another case of unintentional equivocation. “Domestic violence” and “domestic abuse” are different things. NISVS section 4. Psychological abuse of various forms is generally not considered the former, but is considered the latter.

            Men and women are almost equal in reporting experiencing violence – but women are far more likely to report fearing for their safety, missing work, getting injured, etc. Men kill female partners far more than vice versa (the NISVS doesn’t list this, because it’s a survey of victims). To some extent this can be ascribed to men’s greater physical size and strength – a man hitting a woman is far more likely to do injury than vice versa. However, women are about 5x more likely to report stalking than men. Given that most people are heterosexuals, it is very likely that men stalk women more than vice versa.

            Breaking it down further: Lesbians are more likely than heterosexual women (see table 3) to report rape/physical violence/stalking – but that is almost exclusively found in the form of physical violence. They are, however, less likely to report it having a major impact than heterosexual women. (EDIT: I was wrong about this, it appears; lesbians report greater impact, but the CDC doesn’t break down impact beyond “there is an impact”)Bisexual women seem to have everything the worst.

            Among men (table 4), meanwhile, heterosexual men report more abuse than gay men, but gay men report a slightly higher impact (but not by enough for it to be significant). Heterosexual men also report 2% stalking vs “not enough sample to say” among gay men, so I don’t know what’s up with that, but would assume it’s just a sample size issue (or, maybe gay men just don’t get obsessed with individual men the way straight men get obsessed with individual women?) Bisexual men report more violence than either, but not as dramatically as bisexual women.

            Further tables break what’s going on further. What really strikes me is how terrible bisexual women have it (table 6) – table 6 contrasted with table 7 (which is about men) also suggests that, regardless of perpetrator (assuming that lesbians are being abused mostly by other women), violence against women is more serious than violence against men – men are less likely to report “serious” physical violence, to the point that they don’t have the sample size to break it down further.

            Tables 8 and 9 talk about psychological abuse – lesbians are considerably more likely to report it than heterosexual women, bisexual women have it worse than either. Gay men are more likely than straights to report psychological abuse, but that’s mostly “expressive aggression” rather than “coercive control”. The numbers for bisexual men are a bit weird here – they report considerably less of the former and considerably more of the latter.

            So, your basic point is correct: the harms are unevenly distributed. I’d ascribe this mostly to sexual dimorphism: lesbians are more likely to report abuse, but heterosexual women are more likely for that abuse to have a serious impact. (EDIT: I was wrong about this, it appears; lesbians report greater impact, but the CDC doesn’t break down impact beyond “there is an impact”) Heterosexual women are also far more likely to be killed by those partners, those partners being men. Bisexual women seem to get abused drastically more than other women – to a greater extent than happens with bisexual men.

            EDIT:

            For most types of violence
            examined in this report, the majority of both male and female victims, regardless of sexual orientation, reported having one perpetrator in their lifetime. Across all forms of violence, the majority of bisexual women and heterosexual female victims reported having only male perpetrators. The majority of
            heterosexual male victims of sexual violence other than rape identified their perpetrator as exclusively
            female. Almost all gay male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner
            reported their perpetrator as being of the same sex. The majority of lesbian victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner reported their perpetrator as female.

            Key part: “Across all forms of violence, the majority of bisexual women and heterosexual female victims reported having only male perpetrators.”

            Unsurprising for heterosexual women, but what’s the explanation for why bisexual women are far more likely to be abused by men than heterosexual women?

            EDIT 2: A different part of the report

          • Philosophisticat says:

            @Aapje

            I appreciate the acknowledgment, which is rare and laudable. I apologise for being a bit testy.

          • Iain says:

            @dndnrsn: Yeah. I think a fair summary of the situation is that men and women are about as likely to hit each other or engage in psychological abuse, but men are a lot more likely to do significant physical damage. People are shitty in equal proportions, but men being shitty tends to have worse consequences. It therefore makes sense to focus on men, but the paper’s author is correct to point out that this should not prevent us from investigating the impacts on men as well. To the extent that feminists are responsible for this, I believe it is an instance where members of my tribe are in the wrong. (I am not convinced that this justifies any major policy changes, though.)

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Iain:

            I was wrong about the heterosexual women/lesbians impact difference. I had gotten it backwards, presumably while flipping from tab to tab. However, they don’t break “impact” down. I would imagine that lesbians experience a greater psychological impact (due to a higher rate of overall abuse, probably compounded by feeling less able to seek help about it – see below) and heterosexual women experience a greater physical impact.

            I disagree that there’s no policy changes that could be made. There should be more resources for men. Women should still receive a greater share, but there’s next to nothing for men who are abused, men who are victims of sexual violence, etc. Women’s shelters should be far more aware of same-sex domestic violence – a woman fleeing an abusive husband will be safe because they probably won’t random guys wander into the shelter; a woman fleeing an abusive wife does not have that protection (part of the reason a woman abused by another woman might suffer more psychological impact – she has no safe haven). I don’t know if these are major policy changes, though. One major policy change I think should happen – rape should be redefined as a genital-neutral crime.

            The problem is largely cultural, not policy. The idea of a man being raped or abused by a woman is common joke fodder. Hell, male-male rape is common joke fodder. Same-sex domestic abuse is largely invisible, for various reasons (we as a society don’t recognize women as being violent, LGBT people probably feel under pressure not to “look bad” by revealing abuse, there’s pressure on lesbians and bisexual women to keep an image of female-female relationships as “better” than those nasty patriarchal hetero relationships, etc).

            The overall message of sexual violence and abuse as something that is done to women by men, despite the existence and easy availability of statistics to the contrary, is the problem. For example: if you redefine “made to penetrate” as rape, 1/4 of rape victims are men. 1/4 of murder victims are women, but culturally we do not view murder (or assault more generally) as a gendered problem in the same way we view rape (or sexual assault more generally) as a gendered problem. It means that male victims (regardless of perpetrator) are erased, as are female victims of female perpetrators. (Sidenote: the CDC’s report doesn’t talk about people who don’t categorize themselves as male or female, but the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct does – however, it is methodologically not as good as the NISVS).

          • Aapje says:

            @Iain

            That first link is exactly the kind of nonsense I was talking about with my caveat about rhetorical bludgeons against feminism. Do you honestly believe that the people who were proposing International Men’s Day care deeply about the under-representation of men as academic support staff?

            It’s the same kind of rhetoric used by many feminists, with the same kind of cherry picking of examples to argue their cause. Is it perfectly rational? No. Is it reasonable to selectively suppress an outgroup who use this kind of rhetoric, but accept this from the ingroup?

            Keep in mind that this university has a week long program with 100 events for International Women’s Day. A fraction of this attention for men was too much, apparently. Your response is not to argue for debates about this, so the bad ideas can be separated from the good, but you dismiss the entire issue entirely (and thus tacitly support the suppression of debate on certain topics).

            The author of that paper is very clear about the fact that the harms of partner violence are asymmetrically distributed. […] Maybe the obvious implication is not what you meant — but there are people out there who do mean it, and who like to use cherry-picked statistics to argue that resources should be pulled away from domestic violence against women and applied to domestic violence against men.

            It is true that men tend to be stronger and thus hit harder, but much abuse is psychological (even when physical abuse is present, the psychological harm that this causes can be worse than the direct physical harm, a lot of bullied people can attest to this). Furthermore, a lot of abuse is reciprocal. The current mainstream societal beliefs are that men cannot be abused, that the abuse is almost always one-sided and that the proper solution is to convince women to leave their abusive partner by telling her how bad her partner is*.

            IMHO, these beliefs are mostly false and very harmful. Domestic violence services should be restructured to not automatically blame one partner (many cases seem caused by a toxic relationship dynamic, which needs to be addressed without blaming one side exclusively). Furthermore, men and women have different coping strategies/responses/etc, as is evident from various research (for example, women are more likely to blame themselves for giving the wrong signals and ‘deceiving’ the other person into bad behavior, men are more likely to blame themselves for not acting effectively). Intervention services should be much more aware of this and tailor their services to gender differences (without vilifying one gender when they have gendered behavior and excusing the other gender).

            In your black/white perspective, this probably sounds like taking things away from women, but I honestly believe that it will improve intervention effectiveness for both genders. The entire idea that doing more for men takes away from women is silly anyway, since most abuse involves heterosexual relationships and much of it is reciprocal, so helping both genders simultaneously probably makes the interventions more effective for both genders.

            * I believe that this causes cognitive dissonance, as the partners generally have good traits too, which means that this kind of intervention is often not effective, as it causes adversarial feelings against those trying to intervene.

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            Rape, by the books, usually involves penetration

            I consider it ‘disinformation by manipulation of definitions’ when non-consent intercourse where the woman is the victim is defined as rape, but not non-consent intercourse where the man is the victim; merely because men have an outy and not an inny, so it’s technically a little different. As such, I consider the NISVS reports as well as UK law to be misandrist in nature. A male rights activist got the FBI to clarify that their definition of rape includes ‘made to penetrate’ and the NISVS reports are no longer hiding the data completely by at least putting in it a separate category. So there are small steps in the right direction.

            For example: if you redefine “made to penetrate” as rape, 1/4 of rape victims are men.

            The CDC reports suggests that for adults, the victimization is roughly the same (the margin of error is bigger than the gap).

            We debated earlier here whether the different lifetime rates are due to childhood victimization differences or greater suppression of memories by men (or both); but regardless of the answer, we should be aware that victimization rates are often use to debate services for adults, risks for adults, etc. IMO, the yearly rates are the statistics that are most appropriate for those discussions.

    • Mark says:

      I’m British, and I think if I was an American I would be an SJW – I just don’t think that the arguments for racial SJWism are appropriate to the history or culture of Britain.

      For example:
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/12035018/Revealed-How-Britons-welcomed-black-soldiers-during-WWII-and-fought-alongside-them-against-racist-GIs.html

      “Miss Hervieux said: “Given the racial tensions that exist in Britain today, as in other countries, it is hard to believe that the UK was once a relative racial paradise for African Americans. Britons were willing to open their hearts and minds to fellow human beings who were there to help them.”

      Anecdote – my Grandfather (born 1907) was apparently quite annoyed by some news about Paul Robeson, and grumpily said “If I wanted black people, I would have married a Caribbean” (or something) to which my mother replied “and maybe I do want to marry a Caribbean – the rest of us have the freedom to make our choices” to which he nodded and shut up.

      So yes, racist, but not “string ’em up” racist – more like “not my cup of tea” racist. I think that the mainstream of skilled British working class culture has long been – give people a fair shake, it’s unfair and wrong to discriminate on the basis of race.
      The statement, “Given the racial tensions that exist in Britain today, as in other countries, it is hard to believe that the UK was once a relative racial paradise for African Americans” says it all for me – they are imagining that things are worse than they are now, and they are imagining that things were worse in the past, largely because they are taking their cue from US culture.

      So racial SJWism – probably appropriate in the US.

      Gender SJWism – I think they are perhaps partly right, but just take things a bit too far.

      (Reminds me a bit of ‘The War They Never Fought’ by Peter Hitchens – in the context of Britain there was *never* a war on drugs, but it doesn’t stop British liberals from harping on about it as if it has some relevance to our experience.)

      • TenMinute says:

        but not “string ’em up” racist – more like “not my cup of tea” racist.

        And look where it got them: just as reviled and replaced as if they’d fought and lost.

      • Silder says:

        “Miss Hervieux said: “Given the racial tensions that exist in Britain today, as in other countries, it is hard to believe that the UK was once a relative racial paradise for African Americans. Britons were willing to open their hearts and minds to fellow human beings who were there to help them.”

        In the United States northerners had the same relative views of blacks compared to southerners (where most blacks in the United States lived until the 20th century). The Great Migration happens 1915-1960 and progressives broke down both law enforcement (which was set up to deal with the reality of racial differences in behavior) as well as other Chesterton’s fences of cultural institutions. Exactly as predicted murder, rape, robbery, etc. exploded to the extent that mass incarceration was needed to deal with the fallout.

        Discounting lived experiences with how to run a diverse society that isn’t a disaster is a bad idea – but it’s very attractive for virtue signalling.

      • gbdub says:

        Before you pat yourself on the back too much, remember that the Southern plantation owners in the US were more-or-less just transplanted Englishmen. Britain didn’t formally ban slavery in all its colonies until the 1833 (with East India Company colonies holding out a decade beyond that). Apartheid in South Africa had a strong British influence.

        And that’s on top of the whole colonial project itself, which had obvious racial overtones.

        So Great Britain has long been tolerant of racism, as long as the people in England don’t need to see it up close.

        • Mark says:

          I’m not sure how far I can go back here – presumably the culture in the 17th century would have been very different to the culture in the 19th – but my gut feeling is that, perhaps, the culture and attitudes of the mercantile/landowning elites would have been different to that of the stout English yeoman, or skilled tradesman.

          Upper class = mob wife, the rest of us = the mob children. We’re perfectly nice people, we’re sorry for what our father did, and they’re looking in the wrong place for someone who will defend him.

          • gbdub says:

            Well sure but I think that’s true of Americans as well. Scott’s talked about this in his discussion of American tribes (in a review of a book on the subject, name of which currently escapes me). Southern plantation owners were basically transplanted Cavaliers.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @gbdub, you’re thinking of Albion’s Seed. I think the book covers over so many details that it puts its argument in question, but the basic idea of class differences in a whole lot of attitudes is sound.

          • gbdub says:

            Yes that’s the one, thanks. Anyway I don’t think the accuracy of Albion’s Seed matters too much for this conversation, I was just pushing back at the notion that Great Britain is uniquely non-racist, since in the grand scheme American culture and race relations (for good and ill) grew from largely British stock. It’s not like all the racists in America were from France or something.

          • Tekhno says:

            Doesn’t the whole thing kind of boil down to “certain races are more racist than other races”, which is itself a racist idea?

            Sure, “Cavalier” and “Borderers” and so on aren’t traditional races, but its the spectrum that has objective existence, and you can draw the boundary lines in different places. If “whites” can be subdivided into these groups that have unique characteristics, including being more or less racist, then that’s pretty racist.

            Just reading Albion’s Seed and being convinced by its arguments makes you a racist, which creates a paradox. Genetic priming for racism is obviously weaker than learned racism if just reading this stuff can have Yudkowsky making comments about racial cleansing this new racist race he’s autodidacted into his head.

          • Mark says:

            I haven’t read the book, but surely it’s only racist if you think that culture is determined by race. Everyone accepts that culture influences behaviour – the controversy surrounds the determinants of culture.

            Anyway, I can imagine that given the dominant narrative, saying “integrate” or “do as we do” could be psychologically damaging for Black Americans – and the narrative has some validity in the context of American society.
            I think in Britain we can say “integrate or GTFO” because the history, the story, is different – firstly, anyone who lives in Britain is here because someone decided to come – secondly, there was no legal racism (quite the opposite.)

            It’s not the fact that Britons are necessarily uniquely non-racist, it’s the fact that in actuality we have been fairly non racist.

          • Anonymous says:

            I haven’t read the book, but surely it’s only racist if you think that culture is determined by race.

            You know that all human behavioural traits are heritable, right?

          • Mark says:

            Uh – only if you are defining “trait” as “something that is inherited” – there are plenty of human behaviours that are learned.

    • cassander says:

      @Thegnskald says:

      >The issue is that SJ represents a massive and nebulous reserve of previously unclaimed social power – the power to represent the underrepresented.

      This pre-supposes that those groups are unrepresented in a meaningful way.

      >Worse still, the Social Justice movement has become it’s own tribe, independent of the actual policies it claims to espouse. As a movement, it fails entirely to live up to its ideals; as a tribe, it has become a self-reinforcing monster, full of people who claim to be trans-black and other sordid things, making a mockery of the very underrepresentation it should be working to correct.

      “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” Civil rights was a movement, it became a business, and SJWs are the racket.

      >And even worse still, as a tribe, it has been largely subverted to corporate interests.

      This reeks of the old lefty cliche that communism/socialism/Social justice cannot fail, it can only be failed.

      >Leftism is, fundamentally, about class.

      It used to be, but it no longer is. When the left demands affirmative action for Sasha and Malia Obama, but not poor kids from Appalachia, you’ve left class far, far behind.

      >yet we have allowed the class interests of the wealthiest to redefine leftism to be a constant identity war between races, genders, religions – whatever keeps people from looking at class.

      Why are we assuming that this is an evil plot by the plutocrats rather than a natural response to the power of identity politics?

      • Aapje says:

        >Leftism is, fundamentally, about class.

        It used to be, but it no longer is.

        And this is why old school leftists dislike them, like me and Freddie DeBoer (although I’m a very different kind of old school lefty than him).

        • AnonEEmous says:

          it became about races as classes

          people say it was so rich kids could feel good about themselves, but I think caring about the poor just went out of style – everyone did it, and it’s pretty hard to find actual rabid anti-poors (some prominent neocons, and maybe closet rich people; this is the weakest part of my theorem but I think it holds) whereas racists are kind of easier to find. Also anti poorism isn’t arguably as direct harmful as racism, in the sense that people don’t shout poor slurs at people across the street and beat them up for their income class. So yeah, anti racism is the cool new kid on the block and all the cool new kids flocked to it.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I’d explain it a different way. It’s not about rich kids, necessarily, and it’s not about people feeling good about themselves – it’s about people not having to do material stuff. Being anti-poor as someone who is middle class or up runs into the “Jesus and the rich young man” situation – why not sell your stuff and give the proceeds to the poor? Money is an advantage – a material advantage, but also a social advantage, a “privilege” – one can divest one’s self of quite easily.

            Being an “ally” to poor people would require taking some of your cash and giving it to the poor people, presumably. This would, presumably, make the person feel good – can’t tell me EAs don’t get a nice warm feeling – I donated to an EA-promoted charity, and I certainly did. But it requires taking a material loss. Whereas not feeling good about yourself, talking about the unearned advantages you have, etc, maybe doesn’t feel good – but it doesn’t require taking a material loss. Straight white guys posting on Facebook about the guilt they feel – I know guys like this, and they’re really tedious; they also have a habit of making everything about their own psychodrama – they aren’t spending a dime on that.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            Yeah, but I honestly think that this existed for a while and it didn’t stop anything.

            There’s certainly a part to what you’re saying, but I think that anti-racism is just a lot trendier because you can find people on the other side, supposedly, and you can divide people up into good people and bad people much more easily (racists vs. us progressives).

    • Kevin C. says:

      @Thegnskald

      First, the broad goals of SJ look, to me, unobjectionable; reduce prejudice, promote equality, raise the station of the lowest in our society. This is literally leftism; these are ideals we all aspire to.

      Just who is “we” here? Because I’m willing to state here, publicly, that I do not aspire to these “ideals”.

    • Mark V Anderson says:

      Part of the problem I have with social justice (never mind the warrior part) is the name. Yes I believe strongly in justice, but the concept of social justice makes no sense. If it’s about justice you don’t need the social part, and if it isn’t about justice, then leave out the justice part.

      Yes, I do think these are good goals: reduce prejudice, increase equality, and bring up the status of the lowest in society. But I think including the word justice in there kind of invites the warrior to come right in and join the party. Using justice makes it sound like raising up the lowest is not just a good thing, but a right. It’s kind of like whenever a certain brand of activists argue a political point, they phrase their viewpoint as “demands.”

      My difference with social justice is I don’t think helping out those low on the totem pole is an obligation of mine — even if it is a good thing for me to do. When I was a child, there were people who worked on social issues, such as helping the poor and trying to reduce prejudice. They weren’t doing social justice, they were being altruists.

      • rlms says:

        Discrimination against people based on characteristics like race and gender is widely viewed as unjust, so it makes sense for a movement that opposes it to have “justice” in the name (it makes somewhat less sense when you broaden the goal to opposing inequality caused by other things). However, discrimination-related injustice is only one kind of injustice, so it makes sense to use “social” to indicate that is what you’re focusing on (social justice advocates don’t necessarily work against e.g. unjust legal decisions).

        • Mark V Anderson says:

          Ah, this is interesting. You define social justice as a subset of justice. I always thought the phrase meant something that was not legally unjust but was unfair all the same. Thus is didn’t fall under justice, but did fall under this new category called social justice. It is that new category that I didn’t like, because I don’t believe this category truly has anything to do with justice.

          Actually, the more I think about it, I don’t think you are right. Social justice advocates rarely talk about enforcing laws — they are more about enforcing their version of morality outside the legal system. To the extent it overlaps with legal justice, that is a coincidence. Yes they’d like to induce the government to help bring their goals to fruition, but the main thrust of their push is to change people’s minds, not the laws.

          • Harry Maurice Johnston says:

            I always thought the phrase meant something that was not legally unjust but was unfair all the same. Thus is didn’t fall under justice,

            Say what? That’s not the usual definition of the word “unjust”. (You’re not a robot by any chance?) 🙂

          • rlms says:

            Yes, I agree that social justice isn’t a subset of legal justice, indeed I’m saying that the name purposely distinguishes it from that. I think we broadly agree about the meaning.

            You say “I don’t believe this category truly has anything to do with justice”, but I don’t see why that is true. Legal justice is itself a subset of justice in general. Say I started a movement called “employment justice” to advocate for people who have been unjustly (but legally) fired. Would you have a problem with that name?

          • Aapje says:

            @rlms

            The question here is whether group-based remedies are justice? If a Russian man kills my dog and we have a legal system that reacts to this by convicting a random Russian, is that justice or the opposite?

            * Note that this is a simile.

          • rlms says:

            @Aapje
            I agree with what I assume is your point that some things done in the name of social justice are not to do with justice. Even things that *are* widely regarded as laudable, such as working against unconscious or indirect discrimination are arguably not to do with justice. My comments were just trying to explain where the name comes from (frequent/old/central/famous/uncontroversial things done by the “social justice movement” are to do with justice).

          • Nornagest says:

            I always kind of assumed that “social justice” in Left parlance hashes out to “justice done between social classes”: that is, first you identify classes rather than individuals as the agents in your model, then you ensure that justice is done between them. Once you parse things that way, the objections to stuff like the whole microaggressions thing dissolve, because they contribute to injustice at class granularity regardless of individual intentions. Individual intentions, meanwhile, are simply not significant to the model.

            A big weakness here is that you can define a social class any which way, though. It really only makes sense after you’ve already defined a relatively rigid class hierarchy, which I gather is one of the main objections academic SJ theorists have with the pop kind (though they wouldn’t necessarily phrase it that way): you can’t just take a concept from e.g. queer theory and apply it to e.g. Marxian analysis, because the class relations in those two models are completely different. This is the intuition behind the concept of intersectionality, but I don’t get the impression that the theory around it is particularly well developed: it’s more just a statement that these models can break down at the intersections between them.

          • Aapje says:

            @rlms

            I was actually trying to make the point that things like affirmative action can result in a very rich and influential black person being granted favors at the expense of a poor and quite powerless white person, simply because of racial stereotypes being used to make policy. Of course, this is theoretically fixed by taking all oppression vectors into account, although in practice this doesn’t happen.

            @Nornagest

            Intersectionality is not that objectionable in the original academic paper, although it is quite limited in scope (merely arguing that ‘oppressions’ interact, so you can’t just add them up).

            Yet the mainstream understanding by many (or most?) SJ’s seems to actually be the opposite of this, where they do just add up the oppression categories to create a hierarchy of whom is more oppressed.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Aapje: Actually, in university admissions, the demographic group hurt the most is probably Asians.

          • Aapje says:

            @dndnrsn

            That’s true and actually one of the most damning facts for the SJ model of oppression.

    • Tekhno says:

      @Thegnskald

      First, the broad goals of SJ look, to me, unobjectionable

      I will object.

      promote equality

      “Equality” is too open ended to be good grounds for anything in of itself. Equality means sameness within a particular context, so for example, legal equality would be sameness with respect to the law. If you place equality as your primary goal that you will always keep pushing for, you won’t stop once you’ve exhausted the confines of sameness within a particular context. Equality without any qualifiers converges on meaning sameness, because “I’m an egalitarian” says nothing about what limited context that is true under.

      No one really wants absolute equality, anymore than they want absolute liberty/freedom, because without some qualifying principles to anchor them to, you’ve got the ideological equivalent of a paper clip maximizer, which is why I don’t like intersectional social justice or anarcho-capitalism.

      We already have legal equality, so you would have to specify which inequalities in particular are bothersome, and once you do so, it’s useless (and probably even dangerous in the long term) to declare abstract equality to be the important thing in of itself. If you do that you’ll risk flattening all the lovely difference out of the Universe.

      You might SAY this:

      Equality doesn’t mean we elect a woman because she’s a woman, it means we elect a competent person without regard for gender.

      but it’s too late, because bandying about “equality” as being a goal in of itself leaves you ill placed to control the context in which the equality occurs.

      Advocates of intersectional social justice argue that achieving equality requires some kind of leveling due to past injustices, and that’s part of the problem with the second part of the agenda:

      reduce prejudice

      You also don’t literally want to do this, and that might be obvious, but I really do think it’s worth reflecting on. The reductio ad absurdum of this is that no one would be allowed to have any negative opinions on anything ever.

      The counter to this is: “Of course, that’s ridiculous. We only want to reduce prejudicial attitudes towards traditionally marginalized groups.”

      The problem then is that you have created a closed off group of people who have special exemptions from behavior and actions you consider prejudicial. This creates three problems: the internal consistency problem that this contradicts your (ill-advised) goal of equality; there’s nothing stopping other groups from joining in on the identity politics; people will join your organization on purpose to expand the list of marginalized identities that get protection from prejudice, even creating new identities to rent seek (see the expansion of “trans” from the legitimate biological idea of gender disphoria to 70 odd made up genders, now being included in antidiscrimination legislation).

      I’ve never seen these problems even addressed by advocates of intersectional theories of justice, because they are problems inherent to the premise itself.

      I’d love to see someone come up with some method of preventing new identities using social justice rhetoric to rent seek, such as in the case of infinity genders, or using social justice to make the argument that society is now biased against traditionally dominant groups and now they need their own protection from prejudice, such as in the case of the alt-right. One of my criticisms is that it enables the right wing!

      How do you stop these reactions to the intersectional idea from manifesting? Advocates of this concept need to engage in some hard strategic thinking. I would suggest dropping the idea, but at least do something.

      Worse still, the Social Justice movement has become it’s own tribe, independent of the actual policies it claims to espouse. As a movement, it fails entirely to live up to its ideals; as a tribe, it has become a self-reinforcing monster, full of people who claim to be trans-black and other sordid things, making a mockery of the very underrepresentation it should be working to correct.

      This was inevitable due to the nebulousness of a movement based on maximizing equality and minimizing prejudice. These are not good principles.

      raise the station of the lowest in our society.

      This third element is where salvation might lie. If the focus is on stopping people dying in gutters, rather than putting abstractions like equality and prejudice and privilege at the top of the agenda, then you can avoid paper clip maximizer like effects, since you have a modest goal that can actually be completed by looking at things materialistically and raising living standards.

      If there is a conflict between picking the lowest out of the gutter and “equality” or “reducing prejudice”, then you know what should come first. If it turns out that corporate boards that are 90% male lead to higher productivity leading to more wealth to redistribute to pull people out of the gutter, then you know which side of the issue you should be on.

      You already sorta agree with this when you say:

      Leftism is, fundamentally, about class. The poor black man has more in common with the poor white woman than a poor white man has in common with a rich white man, yet we have allowed the class interests of the wealthiest to redefine leftism to be a constant identity war between races, genders, religions – whatever keeps people from looking at class.

      …But what I put to you is that

      reduce prejudice, promote equality

      …Are objectionable goals in themselves that lead to the problems you are drawing attention to, and until you can tackle that, the same problems will keep cropping up, and you’ll keep wanting to re-orient your movement while retaining the same flawed underlying principles. Even if you apply them to class alone.

      “But that’s not what I mean when I say equality” is never an answer, by the way. Try to think of abstractions like this as if they are dangerous uncontrollable beasts. Don’t be too confident that you can keep control once you let them out of the cage.

      • TenMinute says:

        Or you could just shorten it to “our goals are good and unobjectionable because everyone in our society is conditioned to read them as meaningless synonyms for… good and unobjectionable”.

      • Tekhno says:

        I wanted to explain why I think they’re objectionable, rather than just cast doubt.

      • tscharf says:

        When I read equality, I think “equality of opportunity”, not outcomes. These two concepts are different enough that they should use different words because they sure mean different things.

      • No one really wants absolute equality, anymore than they want absolute liberty/freedom, because without some qualifying principles to anchor them to, you’ve got the ideological equivalent of a paper clip maximizer, which is why I don’t like intersectional social justice or anarcho-capitalism.

        Why do you believe anarchocapitalists want “absolute liberty/freedom,” which I think is what you are saying. The anarchocapitalists I am familiar with expect that, in the society they propose, there will still be some violations of rights, such as burglaries or murders. They merely believe that a society without a government will be on net better, whether judged by rights violations, utility, or some other plausible measure, than a society with a government.

        To put the point differently, why is saying “I prefer a society without a government” any more absolutist than saying “I prefer a society with a government”?

      • Tekhno says:

        Why do you believe anarchocapitalists want “absolute liberty/freedom,” which I think is what you are saying. The anarchocapitalists I am familiar with expect that, in the society they propose, there will still be some violations of rights, such as burglaries or murders. They merely believe that a society without a government will be on net better, whether judged by rights violations, utility, or some other plausible measure, than a society with a government.

        What I mean is that I remember being an Ancap and I remember the desire for consistency with the NAP at all levels making Ancap a self-negating philosophy. I remember all the people arguing that voting violated the NAP, and this was something I believed at the time. I remember Larkin Rose being dis-invited from Porcfest for discussing violent resistance to police activity. I remember Jeffrey Tucker splitting the movement into humanitarians and brutalists. Anarcho-capitalism definitely purity spirals and spits out those who are deemed too “statist”.

        To put the point differently, why is saying “I prefer a society without a government” any more absolutist than saying “I prefer a society with a government”?

        That’s not merely what Ancaps say, because you have a specific underlying idea about what “without government” means, where it is replaced entirely with voluntary private property. It’s a total goal held together by a single principle of the non-initiation of force as defined as assault against person or assault or use of someone else’s property without their permission.

        To have a “society with government” only means to have the most common kind of society in civilization’s history. There’s no purity spiral because people don’t need to constantly fight for an agenda to bring states into existence. They are already here, and most people accept them without having to consciously justify them.

        • IrishDude says:

          Relevant to your NAP purity argument is my post on the Health Picks thread discussing whether Bryan Caplan is a rights-based or consequentialist libertarian.

          Caplan, who is AnCap, reviews Mike Huemer, who is AnCap, here: https://www.cato-unbound.org/2013/03/06/bryan-caplan/plausible-libertarianism-philosophy-social-science-huemer

          Bryan Caplan’s description of Huemer’s take straddles the rights-based and consequentialist justifications for libertarianism:

          “How does Huemer make his brand of libertarianism plausible to libertarians? He escapes objections to rights-based libertarianism by turning the “Non-Aggression Axiom” into a “Non-Aggression Presumption.” He escapes objections to consequentialist libertarianism by taking this Non-Aggression Presumption seriously. The result is a position immune to all of the standard counter-examples to rights-based and consequentialist libertarianism.”

          Basically, the stance is there should be a strong presumption against using aggression against others, unless terrible consequences would result. This libertarian stance doesn’t require any NAP purity, and is a belief held by prominent anarcho-capitalists.

          I’d suggest reading the whole link to see the arguments more fleshed out, but the AnCap arguments are more nuanced than you may have seen elsewhere.

        • Tekhno says:

          Basically, the stance is there should be a strong presumption against using aggression against others, unless terrible consequences would result.

          If, therefore, we rely upon cases like this one to account for the state’s right to coerce or violate the property rights of its citizens, the proper conclusion is that the state’s legitimate powers must be highly specific and content-dependent: the state may coerce individuals only in the minimal way necessary to implement a correct (or at least well-justified) plan for protecting society from the sorts of disasters that allegedly would result from anarchy. The state may not coerce people into cooperating with harmful or useless measures or measures we lack good reason to consider effective.

          I think he’s saved anarcho-capitalism by broadening it and weakening the anarchistic premise. The phrases “correct (or at least well-justified) plan”, “the sorts of disasters that allegedly would result from anarchy”, and “good reason to consider effective” are doing a lot of work here, and are highly gameable for alternative purposes.

          • IrishDude says:

            1) My post was a counter-point to your statement “Anarcho-capitalism definitely purity spirals and spits out those who are deemed too “statist””, as two influential AnCaps argue from a position of nuance that considers there to be legitimate exceptions to the NAP and they aren’t spit out as too ‘statist’.

            2) They provide examples of what could be well-justified violations of the NAP:
            “Return to the lifeboat scenario. The boat is in danger of sinking, unless most of the passengers quickly start bailing water. This time, however, suppose that none of the other passengers are willing to bail water. You cannot perform the task alone, and no amount of reasoning or pleading will persuade the myopic passengers to take up their buckets. Finally, you pull your trusty Glock out of your jacket and order the other passengers to start bailing out the boat. In this situation, regrettable as the resort to force may be, your action seems justified”

            and what wouldn’t be well-justified:
            “For instance, if you display your firearm and order everyone to start scooping water into the boat, you are acting wrongly – and similarly if you use the weapon to force others to pray to Poseidon, lash themselves with belts, or hand over $50 to your friend Sally.”

            Having NAP as a strong presumption forces the onus to be on people who want to justify exceptions to it. They have to do a really good job in their justification, which isn’t as easy as I think you think it is. Those that do a really good job arguing some of what the state does as being just NAP violations, would still have a hard time justifying most or all of the state. And getting people to consider parts of the state unjust is a good first step to get people to consider that all of it could be unjust violations of the NAP.

          • IrishDude says:

            By the way, do you agree with the statement you quoted from Mike Huemer?

          • Tekhno says:

            1) My post was a counter-point to your statement “Anarcho-capitalism definitely purity spirals and spits out those who are deemed too “statist””, as two influential AnCaps argue from a position of nuance that considers there to be legitimate exceptions to the NAP and they aren’t spit out as too ‘statist’.

            Is the Ancap movement likely to accept such reasoning if it leads to statist conclusions? What if global warming turns out to be the equivalent scenario to a boat that sprung a leak? I think Huemer’s metric would be thrown out the window. It’s essentially an argument against anarcho-capitalism playacting as an argument for it.

            2) They provide examples of what could be well-justified violations of the NAP:
            “Return to the lifeboat scenario. The boat is in danger of sinking, unless most of the passengers quickly start bailing water. This time, however, suppose that none of the other passengers are willing to bail water. You cannot perform the task alone, and no amount of reasoning or pleading will persuade the myopic passengers to take up their buckets. Finally, you pull your trusty Glock out of your jacket and order the other passengers to start bailing out the boat. In this situation, regrettable as the resort to force may be, your action seems justified”

            Yes, it’s justified, but this leads me away from Ancap, not towards it, because there are many imaginable scenarios of the same character that in broader society would require a state to step in with finality.

            “For instance, if you display your firearm and order everyone to start scooping water into the boat, you are acting wrongly – and similarly if you use the weapon to force others to pray to Poseidon, lash themselves with belts, or hand over $50 to your friend Sally.”

            If Sally has no source of income and will die otherwise, then it might be justified. If Sally is instead millions of people who will starve without redistribution, and before they starve go on a communistic revolt, trashing everything, and destroying society, then giving them money is the equivalent of bailing out water, and would be a well justified violation of the NAP.

          • IrishDude says:

            Is the Ancap movement likely to accept such reasoning if it leads to statist conclusions?

            I’ll just speak for myself, as an AnCap, and note that though I think some violations of NAP are justified I don’t think a state is justified (for reasons that I’ve laid out across a series of posts on SSC). I know other AnCaps that think the same way, and some that are closer to NAP purists. It seems to me you have almost exclusively only interacted with AnCap NAP purists which might color your perspective on the AnCap ‘movement’.

            If I thought a state lead to on net much better consequences than no state and that lack of a state would lead to misery, I wouldn’t be AnCap anymore.

            What if global warming turns out to be the equivalent scenario to a boat that sprung a leak?

            Then NAP violations may be justified, but that doesn’t necessarily make a state justified. It becomes an empirical question about whether non-state solutions to global warming, even if they involve NAP violations, are feasible.

            Yes, it’s justified, but this leads me away from Ancap, not towards it, because there are many imaginable scenarios of the same character that in broader society would require a state to step in with finality.

            What’s relevant is not scenarios that you can imagine, it’s scenarios that are grounded empirically and well-justified. Life boat scenarios are extraordinarily rare. So, which well-justified NAP violation scenarios do you have in mind for the state to be the solution?

            If Sally is instead millions of people who will starve without redistribution, and before they starve go on a communistic revolt, trashing everything, and destroying society, then giving them money is the equivalent of bailing out water, and would be a well justified violation of the NAP.

            My prior is that respect for private property and free exchange leads to prosperity and makes starving much less likely, with historical widespread starvation being mostly due to actions of the state. What’s your prior?

            Edit: Just checking again, but do you agree with Huemer’s argument in the quote you posted?

          • Harry Maurice Johnston says:

            Huh. If you don’t have a government, who decides whether a particular NAP violation is justified or not? Right now, there’s only a metaphorical war over global warming. In the absence of a government, it seems to me that it would quickly turn into a literal war, unless the NAP was so heavily ingrained in the public consciousness that nobody was willing to violate it for any reason – in which case the metaphorical lifeboat really would be in danger of sinking.

            (I have to assume this is standard Ancap doctrine, so a short answer is fine; no need to go into any great detail unless you want to.)

  9. bobbingandweaving says:

    Does anyone know about the ‘Eat Right 4 Your Type’ or Bloodtype tailored diet?

    • Protagoras says:

      For me, it pattern matches to Japanese beliefs about blood type and personality, for which the evidence is on astrology level. The idea that different diets would work better for people with different genetics seems plausible enough, but that there would be substantial correlations with blood type specificially, which seems to mostly just be easily measured rather than impactful, is less so. But I haven’t looked carefully at the research that is supposed to support it.

      • Cadie says:

        This. Blood type might have a very weak correlation with other genetic factors that make one diet better than another for a person, but that’s a best-case scenario. You could improve your odds of picking a good diet from the beginning by looking into current research, eliminating the obvious bullshit like the Hollywood Miracle Diet, and choosing what you like best from the at least somewhat-supported diets. Because no matter how supposedly good for you it is, if you hate it and can’t follow it for long, it won’t work. So picking one a little lower on the objectively “healthy” rankings that you can actually follow long-term will get you better results.

        Also depends on what results you WANT. A lot of diets are judged by effects on blood pressure, weight loss, etc. and “lower blood pressure, lose weight” may not be suitable for everyone.

    • rubberduck says:

      Haven’t personally read much about it, but I had a friend who thought it was unscientific garbage, and she believed in astrology.

      • Mark V Anderson says:

        Haven’t personally read much about it, but I had a friend who thought it was unscientific garbage, and she believed in astrology.

        I am curious what you mean here. It sounds like you are saying this shows that the diet in question is very unscientific, since even the astrologist thinking it was so seems to imply that it is even less scientific than astrology. But my thought is more that the astrologist doesn’t have a clue as to how science works, so her thoughts on this diet are worthless. Or is that what you meant?

        • rubberduck says:

          I meat to say that I heard from somebody who struck me as reasonably smart and scientifically-informed (we met at a summer research program for undergrads) that it is not very scientific, though I haven’t looked into it myself. The fact that she happened to believe (strongly) in astrology was just something I found amusing, since even though most of us probably pick and choose what to scrutinize, it’s funny that she’d be critical of a diet but not of astrology.

  10. So, does anyone here place a premium on nice wines?

    If so, how do you determine what … a good wine is?

    I prefer cookies n cream flavored wine, myself.

    Where are other notable cases of humans acting in such a way? Besides well, luxury cars.

    • psmith says:

      luxury cars

      Maybe you have something specific in mind here, but there’s a lot extra that your money can buy. Though maybe not anything you care about, which of course is fair enough.

    • Bugmaster says:

      FWIW, I personally prefer certain flavors of wine over others, and there are some fairly basic heuristics (e.g. alcohol content, sulfite content) that I can use to determine whether I’ll like a certain wine within the flavor group. For example, I dislike most red wines, and thus I’m not going to buy them, regardless of the price (unless it’s negative, I suppose).

    • CatCube says:

      Clothing. There’s a pretty big gap between what’s minimally acceptable and what you can pay for premium clothes. Much of the difference is signaling, as well.

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        Heh. I met a rationalist guy in college who spent good money on a trench coat & fur felt fedora because it rains cats & dogs 8 months of the year, only to find out that SJs considered them anti-feminist signalling.

        • CatCube says:

          I actually like fedora/trilby type hats, but those have kind of been ruined by certain segments. Wearing one says something, regardless of what you actually believe.

        • hyperboloid says:

          Are they considered anti-feminist signaling? Or just something that screams “I’m a nerd trying to look like Humphrey Bogart”.
          I for one think it looks fine as an accessory to a well tailored suit, it only gets cringe inducing when paired with a sweat stained T-shirt and jeans.

        • Nornagest says:

          I don’t think the main signal is anti-feminism, I think it’s social cluelessness. SJ types read that as implying anti-feminism, but it says things to other groups which are just as bad and have nothing to do with women.

        • dndnrsn says:

          The “fedora” usually fits into a “guy who thinks it’s dapper, it doesn’t fit with the rest of his attire, it’s out of fashion, and he comes off clueless” stereotype.

          Due to a combination of actual overlap and supposed overlap (coming as part of the ever-popular attempt to portray opponents as uncool and gross, maybe with some ableism thrown in) it’s gotten coded in a certain way. (Of course, everybody does the latter – the “neckbeard virgin fedora MRA” stereotype is brother to the “bluehair obese screeching feminist” stereotype)

          • Well... says:

            Any person who wears a fedora, if he was born after about 1970, looks like a little kid dressing up in his daddy’s clothes.

            Same goes for suspenders.

        • Protagoras says:

          As a bald guy, I really wish some kind of hats were generally fashionable these days.

    • dndnrsn says:

      Depends on how you define “nice”. If you’re not mixing it with soda, it might be worth paying the extra five or ten bucks per litre to go from “heartburn in a 4L box” (red) or “they sell varnish in Tetrapacks now?” (white) to nice wine, in an actual bottle even. Past that, most people probably can’t tell. But I prefer beer anyway.

    • JayT says:

      I’m not an aficionado, but I can tell the difference between $2 rotgut and something more expensive. In my experience though, once you get to a certain level of price the more you pay doesn’t necessarily make the wine taste any better. I’ve had $20 bottles I liked quite a bit, and $100 bottles I thought were terrible.

      • hyperboloid says:

        once you get to a certain level of price the more you pay doesn’t necessarily make the wine taste any better

        I think that’s more or less the consensus of people who have
        studied the question empirically through blind taste tests. In fact people who are not wine connoisseur enjoy more expensive wines somewhat less then average priced vintages.

  11. dndnrsn says:

    Another “hey I think I noticed this thing but I might be wrong” topic: has anyone here noticed people making arguments on utilitarian terms, but using other rhetoric, and sometimes outright avoiding utilitarianism? Mostly, this happens with very charged issues.

    The big example I’ve noticed is that the rationale against criminalizing HIV transmission, or criminalizing having sex with someone while HIV+ without telling them, or not using a condom, or not having an undetectable viral count, or some permutation of that, is a utilitarian one (hey, I said these were charged issues). People will neglect getting tested if knowing that they are HIV-positive means they have a legal duty (with serious criminal punishments) to tell others, to use condoms, etc. The end result of this is more HIV transmission taking place than otherwise, as testing is an extremely important part of the public health approach, and if someone does not know they are HIV-positive, they cannot take drugs to suppress the virus, which significantly reduces transmission. So, the utilitarian case is clear – if criminalization means more HIV transmission (and, by all accounts, the stats bear this out), criminalization is bad, because it means more HIV than would be the case otherwise. If the public health experts tell me that criminalization means more HIV, then I will oppose criminalization, because it seems obvious on the face of it that fewer HIV infections is better for society.

    However, if you read stuff about the topic (example that caused me to start thinking about this) the utilitarian argument is pretty hard to notice. There is some fairly oblique mention of the utilitarian argument, but mostly the focus is on how the laws are unfair, the laws are discriminatory, and how hard they are on the people thus charged. The utilitarian argument is far more convincing – because it does not argue that laws against what amounts to recklessly endangering another are worse than recklessly endangering another. (Of course, if the argument is “HIV criminalization laws tend to punish more harshly than laws against generically endangering another” then I suppose I can get behind that; I don’t see why exposing someone to HIV is worse than, say, exposing someone to a carcinogen of similar risk).

    Are people simply uncomfortable with utilitarianism, under any circumstances? Is the argument “we should allow/do this bad thing because the costs of not allowing it are worse than the costs of doing it” just too cold and mechanical an argument for most people to accept? Is this just a “gut feel” thing where arguing for sympathy for people seen as perpetrators is actually more acceptable (and thus more effective) than arguing for heartless number-based decision making?

    (The article does make a utilitarian argument regarding sexual assault more explicitly than it makes a utilitarian argument regarding HIV criminalization.)

    • Philosophisticat says:

      I haven’t noticed any general pattern where people avoid arguments that appeal to the good overall consequences of policies or actions.

      • dndnrsn says:

        I meant more that people seem to avoid arguments that argue for something counterintuitive or that “feels wrong” to the gut to be done on a utilitarian basis. I should have made that clearer.

        Example:

        “We should make condoms more available and sex ed better to reduce HIV transmission rates” is a utilitarian argument that is commonly made.

        “We should not criminalize recklessly endangering another person because criminalizing it increases HIV transmission rates” is a utilitarian argument that seems to be eschewed, even when it’s the strongest argument – for example, in that article.

        • A pattern similar to what you describe shows up in intra-libertarian disputes. One line of argument for libertarian conclusions is consequentialist, one is based on some version of natural rights. Some who support the latter approach criticize the former on the grounds that, while it is true that the institutions they support lead to good consequences, basing their support on that would leave them open to arguments claiming good consequences from what they regard as wicked (i.e. rights violating) laws.

  12. hoghoghoghoghog says:

    In this thread, there are many debates about what members of movement or political group A believe. These debates are basically unwinnable. Here is a test for ascribing belief B to group A which I think tells you something. EDIT: As per Randy’s post below, it should only be used to dis-ascribe a belief to a movement.

    1) Figure out an extreme version or consequence C of B
    2) Ask a typical* member of A whether a more idealistic and less cautious version of theirself would endorse C

    Examples:
    Let’s check the claim “American liberals support Islam.” Extreme consequence of supporting Islam: support for instituting Sharia law. Would an idealistic and reckless liberal support Sharia law? No, since Liberals prefer to keep the state out of religion. We conclude that Liberals do not support Islam, even if they may sometimes be aligned with groups that do. Claim fails the test.

    Let’s check the claim “American conservatives prefer a small government.” Extreme consequence of supporting small government: anarchism. Would an idealistic and reckless conservative support anarchism? I’m not a conservative, but I think most conservatives could imagine a younger, edgier version of themselves doing so, and would think “younger me has their heart in the right place”. Claim passes the test.

    * Yeah, this is still totally vulnerable to No-True-Scotsman-ing

    • Randy M says:

      Ask a typical* member of A… Let’s check the claim “American conservatives prefer a small government.”… I’m not a conservative, but…

      You are explicitly not checking your claim there, you know.

      This does not seem a fruitful or charitable exercise; rather I think you are trying to hide your assumptions and biases behind a veneer of psychoanalysis. If you want to ascribe negative views to opponents, just do so, don’t frame it as “You would have supported this if you were a more idealistic version of yourself.”

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        Unfortunately I’m in my room wearing a towel, with no conservatives handy. If any conservatives want to chime in, please do!

        Anyway I wrote the wrong thing: I don’t want to say “if a more idealistic version of yourself would support this, then your movement supports this.” I want to say the converse of that. I will edit my original post now.

        My motivation for this is really people arguing about what “liberal” means. Liberal is a particularly awful label, since there are very few people who self-describe as liberal and very many people who are described as liberal. In the US it seems to be mostly used for “milquetoast leftist” or “Democratic partisan.” I thought the situation could be clarified by imagining an “extreme liberal,” but that is an invitation to exactly the sort of psychoanalysis you are talking about unless you require that your picture of an extreme liberal be endorsed by a moderate liberal.

        • Randy M says:

          That’s fine, just don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ve demonstrated anything by having conversations with your best model of some.
          For the record, I don’t think a younger me would have supported anarchy, and I do think the current me supports less government.

        • TenMinute says:

          Well we’ve already covered “so what are you wearing? ;)”. We might as well go all the way and get the intercourse over with.

          • Randy M says:

            I do think some of the intermediate steps are non-trivial. Like, say, establishing gender and getting (turing) tested.

        • Well... says:

          Chiming in. A younger, more carefree version of myself did support anarchism.

          However, I am confident that if you asked most other conservatives, they’d say “Anarchism? What are you, nuts?!”

        • hoghoghoghoghog says:

          In light of these responses, the proposed test is shifting me away from my earlier (maybe ignorant) belief that small government is a fundamental/primary commitment of the conservative movement. So, who knows whether the test is making me more or less accurate, but at least it does something.

          • Randy M says:

            You don’t think it’s possible to support moving towards an extreme without ever have endorsed the extreme? Okay…

            The reason this exercise is useless is because it all hinges on how you define the “logical endpoint” of the belief in question.

        • I am an anarchist and I get along reasonably well with conservatives. I give talks occasionally for the Federalist Society, which is a conservative/libertarian law student and lawyer organization. I was once invited to a high level conservative event to debate one of their people on free trade. I got to meet and talk with Phyllis Schlafly, who I found quite charming–it turned out that her son was a cryptographer and she was on the right side of that set of issues.

          The claim that conservatives are more inclined to view market anarchy as an unworkably extreme version of their position than as agents of the Devil is consistent with my observations.

    • ThirteenthLetter says:

      I think there’s something to your argument, but as Randy pointed out the conservative version doesn’t work very well. Maybe because “American conservatives prefer a small government” isn’t really a characterization that the conservatives in question would dispute? (Pretending for the moment that we’re talking about the more libertarian/Reaganist faction of conservatism, of course.) Ask Paul Ryan if he supports a small government and he’d say yup, I sure do. There’s no need to do any work here.

      • Deiseach says:

        I think it depends on your definition of “small”. Certain areas of government would be considered vital parts by conservatives, American conservative “small government” – as far as I can see – is mainly in the economic sphere and is about getting rid of regulations, regulatory bodies, and freeing the market, as well as the perennial cry of every party about cutting civil service bloat and reducing costs in the public sector. But that’s only my opinion, they may well be campaigning for “halve the number of senators, do away with the house of representatives!” 🙂

    • Wrong Species says:

      Let’s check the claim “American progressives prefer communism”. Extreme consequence of supporting leftism: communism. Would an idealistic and reckless progressives support communism? I’m not a progressive, but I think most of them could imagine a younger, edgier version of themselves doing so, and would think “younger me has their heart in the right place”. Claim passes the test.

      Progressives are communists. QED.

      Also, “American Conservatives prefer a small government” just became outdated as of November 9. You picked the worst time to make this claim.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        Regarding the communist counterexample, please see the “EDIT”.

        Regarding November 9th, the test run with one actual conservative and one conservative modelling other conservatives (as opposed to a liberal modelling conservatives) suggests that small government is indeed not so central. So yes, my appraisal of conservatives was flawed but the test comes out alright, given your premise about what the election reveals.

    • Deiseach says:

      Would an idealistic and reckless conservative support anarchism? I’m not a conservative, but I think most conservatives could imagine a younger, edgier version of themselves doing so, and would think “younger me has their heart in the right place”.

      Having been (small “c”) conservative all my life, I have to disagree here. Younger me was never edgy and from the age of 15 I have adored Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday” which is all about the Secret Detective Corps fighting the Anarchists 🙂

      “Are you the new recruit?” said the invisible chief, who seemed to have heard all about it. “All right. You are engaged.”
      Syme, quite swept off his feet, made a feeble fight against this irrevocable phrase.
      “I really have no experience,” he began.
      “No one has any experience,” said the other, “of the Battle of Armageddon.”
      “But I am really unfit —”
      “You are willing, that is enough,” said the unknown.
      “Well, really,” said Syme, “I don’t know any profession of which mere willingness is the final test.”
      “I do,” said the other, ” — martyrs. I am condemning you to death. Good day.”

      Thus it was that when Gabriel Syme came out again into the crimson light of evening, in his shabby black hat and shabby, lawless cloak, he came out a member of the New Detective Corps for the frustration of the great conspiracy. Acting under the advice of his friend the policeman (who was professionally inclined to neatness), he trimmed his hair and beard, bought a good hat, clad himself in an exquisite summer suit of light blue-grey, with a pale yellow flower in the button-hole, and, in short, became that elegant and rather insupportable person whom Gregory had first encountered in the little garden of Saffron Park. Before he finally left the police premises his friend provided him with a small blue card, on which was written, “The Last Crusade,” and a number, the sign of his official authority. He put this carefully in his upper waistcoat pocket, lit a cigarette, and went forth to track and fight the enemy in all the drawing-rooms of London. Where his adventure ultimately led him we have already seen. At about half-past one on a February night he found himself steaming in a small tug up the silent Thames, armed with swordstick and revolver, the duly elected Thursday of the Central Council of Anarchists.

      Part of conservatism is the recognition of structure and order. Political anarchism is an ideal about a state of nature that never happened; even if we all self-govern in a local, small-scale way by democratic vote and everyone has their say and no larger unit than the village/ guild council/commune gets to make decisions for the members, there still has to be an element of “so who counts the votes and what rules do we use to decide if Bert is being an objectionable fusspot about the cow-bells or if Bert has the right to tell the entire rest of the village ‘no more cow-bells’ (as in that case of the Swiss citizenship)?”

      Anarchy or anarchism, whether of the “I can trace my line of thought all the way back to Prince Kropotkin” or “I liked the A in the circle symbol on the parkas all the The Jam fans were wearing” variety, is not really a conservative-appealing system.

    • Jordan D. says:

      This test revolves strictly around what you label ‘an extreme consequence’, though. Most liberal answerers will come out negative if you land on ‘enact Sharia law’, but come out positive if you land on ‘allow free worship and establishment of Mosques wherever they wish to build them’. Virtually none of the Republicans I know were really in favor of anarchy even when they were younger, but I think a lot of them would have agreed with finding a way to slash the size of government by half. I suppose you could use this test to check yourself before writing something like “most Republicans support conversion to Christianity at the point of a sword”, but hopefully this doesn’t come up often?

      It’s an interesting exercise to figure out what lines of thought any given person would support to their furthest conclusions, but I’m not sure how much it reveals about their actual politics.

      • Virtually none of the Republicans I know were really in favor of anarchy even when they were younger,

        I’m not certain, but I believe a current Republican congressman was in favor of anarchy when he was much younger. Certainly he was prominent in the young libertarian movement of the time. I quote him at the beginning of The Machinery of Freedom.

        The Koch brothers are libertarians, not conservatives, but pretty heavily involved with Republican politics. I don’t know if either of them would describe himself as an anarchist but I believe their libertarianism was inspired by Robert Lefevre, who was an anarchist–and a pacifist.

        • Jordan D. says:

          I don’t think there’s any doubt that the right-leaning population includes a higher percentage of people who would sympathize with an anarchistic philosophy, I just think that’s essentially noise compared to the ocean of people who would like to abolish the EPA but have larger police forces.

    • Dr Dealgood says:

      This seems pretty wrongheaded, for a number of reasons. It confuses supporting an action or actor with supporting every possible consequence that might result. And beyond that it ignores that it’s entirely possible to hold positions in between the status quo and radical change.

      For example, the same way you showed that American liberals don’t support Islam I can show that FDR’s administration was never allied with the Soviet Union. An extreme consequence of allying with the USSR during the Second World War was that the victorious communists went on to kill tens of millions of innocent people and enslave hundreds of millions more. It’s safe to say that, for those of us not in the John Birch Society, we can agree that FDR wasn’t in favor of mass murder. Thus the claim that FDR formed an alliance with the Soviet Union fails the test.

      • hyperboloid says:

        You talk as if FDR, (and Churchill who, despite his latter posturing held a more favorable attitude to concessions to the USSR) gave a free and democratic eastern Europe over to Stalin out of some enthusiasm for gulags and oppression. I would remind you that at the time that part of the world was occupied by another even worse form of totalitarianism, and western leaders rightly perceived the soviets as the lesser of two evils.

        • Dr Dealgood says:

          I’m aware of the context. The problem I’m pointing out is, in part, that this method of analysis ignores context and thus leads to bad results.

          Actual liberals actually support Islam, not because they love Islamists but because they see a racist / xenophobic “backlash” against Islam as a larger threat. It’s actually a fairly good analogy for the Western Allies complicity in Soviet crimes, in terms of motivation at least. Supporting evil in the hope of preventing a greater evil.

          • hyperboloid says:

            What does “supporting Islam” mean? Islam is not a country or a political party. I know of no liberal who advocates an Islamic republic or caliphate as a system of government in any western country.

            I for one don’t support or oppose Islam, but I do support the right of Muslims to the free exercise of their religion, as much as I support the right Jews, or Mormons, or Scientologists.

          • rlms says:

            @hyperboloid
            Your comment implies you know liberals who advocate Islamist government in non-Western countries, which sounds like the kind of thing Dr Dealgood might be talking about.

          • Randy M says:

            One may support categories of things other than countries or political parties. This is so obvious as to be disingenuous rhetorical.

            There are ways of encouraging or discouraging Islam in any particular area that have nothing to do with the First Amendment of the US constitution.

          • hyperboloid says:

            @rlms

            I know of a number of western leaders who would accept an Islamic republic as a superior alternative to secular dictatorship in Muslim majority countries. And not all of them are liberals; George W Bush, the man responsible for the Islamic Dawa party governing Iraq, is probably the most prominent example.

            @Randy M
            One can support a charity, or a football team, or the troops, or a deadbeat relative; but how does one support a religion, short of proselytizing for converts? If liberals wanted there to be more Muslims, don’t you think they would start by converting themselves, or at the very least refraining from unIslamic activities, like fornication, or drinking, or … eating bacon. All things that your average liberal has done far more to support then Islam.

            Why should it be my, or your, or anybody else’s business to “discourage” the private practice of any religion?

            Furthermore, I doubt there are any effective means to discourage any religious practice that would not run afoul of the first amendment. Judaism was ruthlessly persecuted in Europe for centuries and it took a massive genocide to significantly dislodge it form the continent.

          • Randy M says:

            How does one support a religion, short of proselytizing for converts?

            That’s certainly one way.

            For example of another, see media frontlash after terror attacks. This is supporting Islam, and non-governmental.

            Furthermore, I doubt there are any effective means to discourage any religious practice that would not run afoul of the first amendment.

            Effective or not is another matter entirely. As you say, the sorts of thing Islam has done to discourage Christianity in and around it’s birthplace would not be allowed in this country. But I don’t think there’s no non-governmental actions that could be useful.

            If liberals wanted there to be more Muslims, don’t you think they would start by converting themselves, or at the very least refraining from unIslamic activities, like fornication, or drinking, or … eating bacon

            (Some) Liberals (seem to) want there to be more Muslims (I hypothesize) in order for them to be a check on Christians and to virtue signal, not because they are adherents of the faith or want to follow its practices. If you’ve played Risk or similar you’ll understand rooting for the far opponent against the near.

            Why should it be my, or your, or anybody else’s business to “discourage” the private practice of any religion?

            Islam has not historically been a particularly private practice.

          • Anonymous says:

            Implying the media are not part of the government.

          • hyperboloid says:

            @Randy M

            As you say, the sorts of thing Islam has done to discourage Christianity in and around it’s birthplace would not be allowed in this country.

            Well for one thing, from the few Palestinian Christians I have known, I suspect their biggest problem is the army of Jewish state occupying their home land.

            For another, Islam is not a person, or a country, or a party, or any armed faction. It is a faith, a collection of philosophical ideas, rules, and rituals, practiced by a billion people. Certainly some of those people have oppressed Christians, Yazidis, Jews, and people of other faiths, and this is deplorable. On the other hand, other Muslims, for instance the overwhelmingly Sunni Kurds, have fought to the death against such people.

            It is beyond me why you think lashing out at people living in western countries who have had no part in any violence in the middle east is some kind of justice. Somebody in Iraq murders a Christian, so you plan to harass a Pakistani restaurant owner just because he prays facing the bit of Saudi Arabia as Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi?

            What kind of logic is that?

            (Some) Liberals (seem to) want there to be more Muslims

            Citation very much needed.

            Islam has not historically been a particularly private practice.

            I know of no way in which the median Muslim’s practice of his religion is in any way more public that that of an orthodox Jew.

          • Randy M says:

            It is beyond me why you think lashing out at people living in western countries who have had no part in any violence in the middle east is some kind of justice.

            Well, you are a big boloid, so if something is indeed beyond you, maybe it is in fact not so.

            What kind of logic is that?

            Duh–strawman logic.

            I have not lashed out at anyone, nor do I think it would be just to do so.
            Of course, perhaps you view not letting someone’s second-cousin/fiancee immigrate as some kind of lashing out, in which case I don’t think the term is merited. But the case for it isn’t for justice’s sake.

            For another, Islam is not a person, or a country, or a party, or any armed faction. It is a faith, a collection of philosophical ideas, rules, and rituals, by a billion people.

            It is as much a faith as it is a political philosophy, one markedly different from the Anglo-American one. No problem with that, that’s what borders are for, after all.

            Citation very much needed.

            I have to provide citations for my impression? Fine, See here

          • hyperboloid says:

            @Randy M
            Islam is not a political ideology, if it were one would expect Muslims to generally share the same political views, yet political views in the Muslim world run the gambit from liberalism, to Marxism, to Monarchism, to various forms of religious conservatism and Islamism.

            If you don’t wish to put pressure on American Muslims to give up their religion, then how do you mean to “discourage Islam”?

            Your link just goes back to your original comment, which does not cite any specific source or example; also I don’t know what “frontlash” means.

            I don’t think Muslim immigrants should be treated differently then anybody else, aside from basic security screening. Your second cousin is the child of one of your parent’s first cousins. It’s a very distant relative and I can’t think of any reason to treat a marriage between second cousins any different than any other marriage.

            Where you draw line on incest is more than a little subjective since a cousin is just someone with you share a common ancestor with.To take to the extreme, technically any two given people who are not more closely related are cousins of one degree or another. Go back far enough and all family trees converge.

            Think of the last women you slept with, trace your families back far enough and you will find you are distantly related, and if you are from the same ethnic group in the same region it might not be so distant.

            …..Oh great, I think I just ruined sex.

            All right everybody, no more fucking; we’ll just have to invent something else.

          • Dr Dealgood says:

            @hyperboloid,

            “Frontlash” is a term coined by the journalist Steve Sailer to refer to media / government action taken in the immediate aftermath of an Islamist attack, ostensibly to protect Muslims against an expected backlash on the part of the citizenry.

            So, a good example of a frontlash would be the extraordinary (and ongoing) efforts by the government and media of the UK to conceal the Pakistani rape gangs operating across the country. And, after the gang in Rotherham was revealed despite this, the speed with which they leapt into action to protect the safety and identities of the perpetrators. If only the police had responded so quickly when their thousands (not hyperbole) of victims needed protection!

            Oh wait, they did respond… to jail the fathers who tried to free their daughters, and to threaten anyone who spoke out with “hate speech” charges.

            In other words, it is a form of anarcho-tyranny. The native citizens of the country are left to fend for themselves against inevitable yet somehow “unforeseeable” Muslim violence, while being scrutinized for any sign that they might retaliate against their attackers.

          • TenMinute says:

            My favorite quote from RationalWiki, on the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006

            At that time, due to the July 7, 2005 suicide attacks in London, the British government was undertaking a comprehensive study of how the State could take action against far-right politics

            As if it was the most natural response in the world.

          • psmith says:

            As if it was the most natural response in the world.

            I mean, for a certain conception of far right….

          • Jiro says:

            One can support a charity, or a football team, or the troops, or a deadbeat relative; but how does one support a religion, short of proselytizing for converts?

            One knowingly supports policies and performs actions which make it easier for the religion to gain converts and/or put its own policies into action.

        • cassander says:

          > I would remind you that at the time that part of the world was occupied by another even worse form of totalitarianism,

          I don’t think you can just casually sustain the claim that Nazism was worse than communism. More threatening at that moment in history, perhaps, but certainly not worse

    • Chalid says:

      At least in politics (where this discussion often occurs) I feel like the solution is to define a representative member of the group as a major elected official – you can say in a valid way that Democrats believe something if you see >= 3 senators or governors or similarly high officials (president, VP, House leadership, but not cabinet officials) who make the claim. Limiting it to high officials is important – these elections are almost always competitive, at least at the primary level, so holders of these offices are likely to be pretty savvy, care a lot about what the electorate thinks, and generally unwilling to say things that mark them as crazy with a large fraction of their voters. (Whereas lower elections like the House are often uncompetitive and therefore the House is full of crazy people who say crazy things.)

      2000/2004 Diebold conspiracies fail this standard, but birtherism passes, which seems like the intuitively correct result to me.

      Doesn’t work for groups like “feminists” or “libertarians” though.

    • The original Mr. X says:

      Let’s check the claim “American conservatives prefer a small government.” Extreme consequence of supporting small government: anarchism. Would an idealistic and reckless conservative support anarchism? I’m not a conservative, but I think most conservatives could imagine a younger, edgier version of themselves doing so, and would think “younger me has their heart in the right place”. Claim passes the test.

      I dunno about that. Most conservatives — or at least most conservatives who’ve given some serious thought to their positions — think that there’s a certain set of more-or-less well-defined functions which the government should carry out, and that it should stay out of thing which aren’t directly related to those functions. Since most modern Western governments do more than just carry out these functions, the conservative view means in practice that government should be smaller than it currently is. Nevertheless, the “extreme consequence” of supporting the idea that the government should stick to a few well-defined tasks isn’t shrinking the government down to nothing, it’s, well, a government that sticks to a few well-defined tasks. So I think that the argument is insufficient in this case.

      • Evan Þ says:

        I think you might be confusing conservatives and libertarians?

        • Kevin C. says:

          No, I don’t think he is. With regards to (at least some) American conservatives, for the “certain set of more-or-less well-defined functions which the government should carry out”, read “the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution,” with all others not explicitly granted to the Federal govenment reserved to the states or the people.

        • The original Mr. X says:

          No, I don’t think so. Both favour limited government, although conservatives generally think it should be limited less than libertarians do.

        • Randy M says:

          For example, see conservative support for the tenth amendment.

  13. Machine Interface says:

    “Immigration — the great non-debate”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDtiTNHPfyo

    Some considerations that echo a bit what we can read on this blog about ingroup/outgroup things and the concept of toxoplasma of rage.

    • ivvenalis says:

      I’m not going to watch a 17-minute long video of someone talking to the camera in their bedroom in order to convey what might be a few paragraphs of textual information.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      Is there a written version? I have a rule against watching videos which are just some dude talking to a webcam for 5+ minutes. Same reason I don’t listen to talk radio; the format is uninteresting and lends itself to various logical fallacies that are more easily concealed when they don’t have to be written down in organized fashion, or challenged by an interlocutor.

      (This tends to lock me out of a lot of alt-right thought since graphic designers and editors seem pretty thin over there.)

      • TenMinute says:

        graphic designers and editors seem pretty thin over there

        Yes. We rely too heavily on ironically low quality memes. While effective at introducing people to fundamental ideas (and the empowering concept that “dissent is ok!”), they’re not much good for anything else.

        Although given that people seem to be building up a resistance to the slick presentation styles of Buzzfeed/Vox/Vice, simply imitating their failing model is probably not the right answer.

        I’m sure we’ll figure it out eventually. The future belongs to us, and so does the media of the future 🙂

        • Well... says:

          And yet those Nazi haircuts are super popular among graphic designers. Richard Spencer looks like a graphic designer. In fact, I think he looks more like one than anyone else I can think of, and I know several personally.

  14. Le Maistre Chat says:

    Thoughts on this article about Western progressives’ obsession with mainstreaming the hijab?

    Relevant link from our past.

    • rlms says:

      Yes, Maajid Nawaz invariably says sensible things. I agree with the central point of the article that the hijab is not progressive or feminist. But I have a few subtler counterpoints. Firstly, the only thing in the linked article I can see that indicates Noor Tagouri is promoting modesty is the title. She doesn’t make any claims I can see in the article. And in general, I don’t think there is an “obsession” with promoting the hijab as an progressive. People occasionally make comments to that effect, but I think that’s just generic tribalism and contrarianism (something we are all very familiar with in the SSC comments section!), and they don’t do so very frequently. Secondly, in my experience most women and girls who wear the hijab do so as a cultural thing more than out of a sense of religious obligation (in the UK at least). I’ve never known any hijabis to voice problems with people dressing “immodestly”.

      • Iain says:

        Something similar is true in Canada. My girlfriend has spent a reasonable amount of time at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, which has a huge Muslim population. She reports that the hijab there is a fashion accessory more than anything else — more than once, she has half-seriously suggested wearing one herself, just because she likes how it looks. She has stories of seeing young women on the subway lift up their niqabs to make out with their boyfriends.

        People are people.

        • dndnrsn says:

          Can attest to this. It is a fairly common thing on university campuses in Canadian cities to see young women in what I think of as “standard 18-twentysomething female garb” – painted-on skinny jeans, Chucks, a hoodie, for instance – plus hijabs.

    • carvenvisage says:

      Should it be illegal to wear a mask? Walk around in a scooby doo costume? People are ridiculously precious about face covering. “It makes me feel uncomfortable”. Whose fault is that? It’s just cloth.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        You might want to ask bank tellers and convenience store clerks about their opinion of people who wander around with their faces concealed.

  15. Moon says:

    Someone explain this patreon thing to me, please. I went to the Ozy site above. You pay to read the posts of someone who has no public posts on his blog at all? So a patreon is sort of a gamble, a game of chance, and you play it just to see what turns up, once you buy this totally unknown writing?

    • rlms says:

      No, Ozy has a blog they post a lot on here.

    • Aapje says:

      Basically, Ozy writes more if you pay and you get access to some special patreon-only content.

    • Winter Shaker says:

      For the most part it’s a way of voluntarily paying for internet content that you like, even if it is freely accessible, as a means of supporting the writer/artist/etc, that is a lot more set-and-forget than having to manually make a donation every time you want to. But people can create supporters-only content as well.

    • Spookykou says:

      The name gets you most of the way there, it lets you be a patron to a creative person whose creative outputs you enjoy.

  16. dndnrsn says:

    @Paul Brinkley/Earthly Knight/cassander

    Decided to start a new thread because it’s a different issue, but there’s arguments above about whether left or right is more in tune with reality in the US, references to Democrats being nasty to the (Republican) outgroup, and there’s been previous discussion of civility left vs. right.

    Based entirely on highly scientific personal observations, I think that the mainstream left is lagging the mainstream right in the US by about ten years in nastiness to the outgroup, civility, and connection with reality. Mainstream being, I suppose, anyone who would vote R or D without holding their nose too much.

    Ten or so years ago, I remember online discussion (see, like I said, highly scientific what I’m doing here) featuring far more vitriol from the right than the left. Democrats were moonbat traitors who didn’t support the troops. Meanwhile, it was in 2008 that conspiracy theories became somewhat mainstream-respectable in the Republican party, with the Birther stuff.

    This election saw a fair bit of vitriol from both sides, but I don’t remember the degree of vitriol by the left towards Republican voters being anywhere near as high in 2012, let alone 2008. Additionally, it looks like conspiracy theories (half of all Democrat voters believe that the Russians actually tampered with the vote count – as far as I know, no intelligence agency is saying or even suggesting this) are starting to go mainstream.

    Does this match other people’s memories?

    • cassander says:

      Democrats spent 4 years claiming that bush was selected not elected and not my president, darkly whispering about diebold voting machines stealing the next election. Then, 3 months ago, when everyone thought hillary was going to win, questioning the results/legitimacy of elections was treason.

      What i think you’re seeing is not that the left is 10 years behind, but that being out of power makes you nastier/more conspiracy minded. You don’t question the system when it’s giving you what you want.

      • dndnrsn says:

        Were there really conspiracy theories in 2000? The narrative I remember (I was fairly young, though) was “the ballots were badly designed and there were issues with machines accurately marking them, it was very close due in part to resulting voting screwups, it went to the court, and the court decided along partisan lines”. I don’t remember anyone suggesting there was a conspiracy for this to happen.

        Diebold is a decent point, but wasn’t that a fairly brief thing? I don’t recall it having much in the way of legs.

        • cassander says:

          Absolutely. Job bush was governor of florida, remember. There were wild rumors of mass voter suppression, stolen elections, boxes of ballots hidden away, etc. And the story still isn’t dead. Conspiracy might be a strong term for what they’re describing, it’s more like “conspiratorially taking advantage of a close election.”

        • Civilis says:

          It might depend on what you remember. Rhetoric is hard to gauge as to which side is worse.

          The first thing that sticks with me is that the left dominates the narrative, and can whitewash history, so of course they don’t remember their own mistakes. I can understand a Democrat that thinks it’s wrong for Trump to even accept the appearance of being supported by the Russians, but I feel justified disregarding their opinion unless they’re willing to throw Ted Kennedy under the bus for doing the same with the Soviet Union. (Seriously, the Kennedy family alone is the source of more potential embarrassment for the Democrats than the Clintons could even dream of being. From wanting to imprison people that disagree for holding unpopular opinions while holding unpopular opinions themselves to massive sexual assault allegations to outright collaboration with the Nazis, it’s hard to find anything that isn’t potentially lurking in their closets.)

          What I also remember are riots and protests. I remember (barely; I was in 8th grade) the ‘No Blood For Oil’ protests when they were new in 1990. I remember when LA burned after the Rodney King verdict. I remember DC being on lockdown in 2000 from the IMF protests. What I don’t remember is anything comparable from the right. Perhaps I’m missing it; I welcome counter-examples of massive, illegal disruptions of American life by Republicans in the past 40 years that have been handwaved away.

        • TenMinute says:

          My middle school history teacher went on a rant in class about how Bush stole the election by rigging Florida.
          Yes, there were a lot of conspiracy theories.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          Meh.

          I think the story in 2000 was far more about process and conflict of interest. The SoS in Florida (nominally in charge of counting the ballots statewide) was also the head of the Bush campaign in Florida.

          The Diebold conspiracy stuff was 2004 when it came down to Ohio.

        • registrationisdumb says:

          Diebold is still a thing, though not necessarily by the same name. Lots of trump supporters thought the voting machines were gonna be rigged this time around, and in previous elections there was actually proof that Ron Paul votes weren’t counted in some districts.

    • James Miller says:

      The American left’s outgroup consists of other American citizens, whereas the American right’s outgroup consists mostly of non-U.S. citizens.

      • ChetC3 says:

        Unless you’re so far gone you no longer count the American left as US citizens, this is obviously false.

        • Moon says:

          Of course he’s that far gone, LOL. At least seventy something percent of eligible voters did not vote for Trump– either voted for someone else or didn’t vote. If the voting machines were fraudulently programmed, then it’s far more than seventy something percent, maybe eighty or ninety something percent.

          But when people win an election, they start fantasizing that they are the majority. And fantasizing that the false “news” they believe– about illegal immigration being a huge problem in the U.S.– is true. They think they are the majority, and think they are right about tons of things they are wrong about.

          That’s the power of winning. It gives people delusions of grandeur. Look at DT. He won the genetic lottery, having a wealthy father, and was apparently able to build on that wealth– although not necessarily. We haven’t seen his tax returns so we don’t know. Incredible delusions of grandeur.

          • Iain says:

            As I’ve said before: given the profusion of things that are actually wrong with Donald J Trump, President-Elect of the United States of America, please stop wasting your time and ours with unsubstantiated claims about voting machines.

          • Moon says:

            Okay, I will substantiate my claims. I do not know if they were, in fact, hacked, only that they are very easy to hack or fraudulently manipulate.

            Here’s how hackers might mess with electronic voting on Election Day
            http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/heres-how-hackers-could-mess-with-electronic-voting/

            Some states — including swing states — have flawed voting systems
            http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/11/1/13486386/election-rigged-paper-trail-audit

            Could the 2016 Election Be Stolen with Help from Electronic Voting Machines?
            http://www.democracynow.org/2016/2/23/could_the_2016_election_be_stolen

            Liberal bashing is surely our national pastime in the U.S. Even liberals love to bash other liberals, to make themselves feel loved and included with everyone else.

            I guess the person who talked about liberal circular firing squads may actually have a point. I’ve got the bullet holes in me to prove it.

          • Evan Þ says:

            But by that evidence, Moon, couldn’t we just as well call into question Obama’s win in 2012, or any other victory since these voting machines were adopted? Yes, voting machines are horribly, inexcusably insecure. But there’s no specific evidence their insecurities were exploited specifically this year.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            “It could have happened” is not evidence that something happened.

            As for “at least seventy something percent of eligible voters did not vote for Trump,” even higher percentages did not vote for Bill Clinton. Was he illegitimate?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Moon

            I agree with Iain, you should leave off about the voting machines. The fact that they could have been hacked quite easily is no evidence that they were. It would have been easy for Ted Cruz to have zodiacally killed some people if he had wanted to, but that doesn’t prove he was the Zodiac Killer.

          • carvenvisage says:

            IDK why people criticise moon for this.

            ‘they could have been hacked just as easily before’

            yeah, and that’s TERRIBLE. Two potentially fraudulent elections don’t make a right.

            And obviously people aren’t comparably incentivised to be a serial killer as to win a presidential election, and tampering with machines is a lot easier than avoiding exposure as the zodiac killer while running for a presidential nomination. That’s one of the worst analogies I’ve ever heard

          • Evan Þ says:

            @carvenvisage, what do you propose we do about these two (or actually more) potentially-fraudulent elections, which led to Congressmen and at least one President who have already served in office for years? Shall they be hustled out as illegitimate and everything they’ve done instantly overturned as usurpations?

            What I’m saying is, if you won’t do that, you don’t have any grounds to call Trump illegitimate now. If good evidence of actual fraud turns up – great; that’s another question! But now, he’s a presumptively-legitimate President-elect.

            (And by all means, get paper ballots so we don’t go through these questions another time two years from now!)

          • carvenvisage says:

            I just think the machines are a big deal. If someone is acting like this is new, they should be informed, and if that fails, slapped. My main proposal is that in a democracy election security is really important and brushing about concerns about it, even if they are partisanised, shouldn’t play well and probably won’t.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            There’s another problem here, with the assertion that the machines are “easily hackable.” Because, well, yes and no.

            Individual machines might have poor security, but there’s a (wrong) image people get of some dude in his basement, no doubt wearing sunglasses and a black trenchcoat, somehow logging onto “the election” and changing all the numbers, and it doesn’t work that way. Every state in a Presidential election has a jumble of different voting mechanisms, some paper, some electronic, some both, and even within a state you’re going to have a similar jumble maintained in a chaotic fashion at best with questionable connections to outside networks, and if you wanted to “hack the election” you’d have to somehow know which states and even counties were going to be close enough to shift and have vulnerabilities in place for thousands upon thousands of machines in those locations to create a plausible result that won’t have paranoid poll watchers freaking out the next day. There’s just no way.

            Now, I agree that we need universal paper records. Frankly, I’d be just fine with purely paper balloting, because physical records are the best way to reassure everyone that things are on the up-and-up. And if one was talking about tiny local elections in one town or maybe a small district, well, suddenly a hacker making a few tweaks becomes at least somewhat plausible, and we should guard against that. But to believe that there’s any real chance that this particular “election was hacked” is not justifiable.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            and tampering with machines is a lot easier than avoiding exposure as the zodiac killer while running for a presidential nomination.

            There are two separate matters here, whether it is easy to hack the machines and whether it is easy, having done so, to avoid detection. I have nothing to say about the first of these, but the latter will be quite difficult to pull off. In any given US presidential election there are going to be tens of thousands of people carefully scrutinizing the vote totals, county by county, precinct by precinct, and comparing them with population statistics and the results of past elections. Someone is pretty much guaranteed to notice any significant irregularity. This means that the hacker would have to be extremely sophisticated in the sociology of US elections to avoid detection.

          • Nornagest says:

            I haven’t worked with voting machines myself, but I’ve worked with people that have, and I’ve read industry papers and watched talks on the subject. Some systems are very vulnerable indeed, though in all but the worst cases you’d need an inside job (or a lot of luck and foresight) and the tampering would be pretty clear afterwards. But there are almost as many systems out there as there are precincts, and that makes a coordinated campaign of fraud, the kind of thing that might actually swing elections, extremely difficult. It’s far outside the weight class of individual hackers or even large groups. Major nation-states might be able to do it, if they had enough on the line to make it worthwhile. But doing it and not getting caught? I don’t think even Russia or China could do that. There are too many points of failure, and too many eyes on the problem.

            That PBS article is garbage, by the way; everything it says is technically true, but naive readers are likely to come away with a less rather than a more realistic model of the threat landscape. The Vox article is the best of the three, as far as it goes.

          • webnaut says:

            Hi moon

            I’d like to reply to your reply in a different part of this thread, but apparently there’s a depth limit on how far comments can be nested.

            How do SSCers normally handle this problem?

            I could reply somewhere else but then the context would be lost + potentially you or I wouldn’t see replies.

          • Aapje says:

            @webnaut

            The normal solution is to name the person you are responding to, like you did.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            The reason for voting machines over paper is that the voting machine is completely binary. They register a vote for A or a vote for B or no vote. Paper ballots can be extremely vague. Is this a vote for A and B? B and a third party? Is this ballot spoiled so much that we throw away what is otherwise a clear vote for A?

            You know what we don’t want? An election with 67 votes for A, 64 votes for B, and 12 votes that are “these kind of look like a vote for B, don’t you think?”

            It’s tough to break someone of thinking that accuracy is the single most important thing. But having a clear result is the most important thing. It’s why we have democracy and not mob rule. We’d rather have high confidence in an erroneous answer than truly knowing that the answer is unclear.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @Edward Scizorhands, do we really have high confidence in the results of an election done on easily-hackable voting machines? What if (unlike this time) it turns out there’s good evidence they actually were hacked?

            Meanwhile, about voters messing up their paper ballots (hello Florida 2000, groan and moan), I can see two good answers:

            * Throw out any and every spoiled ballot. The voter has failed the implicit intelligence test required to vote.

            * Have paper ballots printed by machine, with the bubbles already filled in. The machine can keep a record if you want, but the official result is on the paper ballots, which are always counted.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            do we really have high confidence in the results of an election done on easily-hackable voting machines

            Yes. Because regardless of “easily hacked” we have no evidence they were actually hacked.

            Throw out any and every spoiled ballot.

            This is not an objective test. What if they erased one answer and wrote in another? What if they wrote the same answer twice. Do you want the presidency hanging on whether a clerk thinks a chad was 45% punches of 55% punched, when the clerk knows that?

          • Harry Maurice Johnston says:

            What if they erased one answer and wrote in another? What if they wrote the same answer twice.

            In our elections, the instructions are clear: tick one box using the pen provided. If you tick the wrong box, you take your voting paper back to the clerk and get a new one. No doubt there’s still room for people to mess it up, but not in numbers sufficient to cause a problem. In the rare event of an election result hanging on a few indeterminate ballots, I assume the Electoral Commission would make the final call.

            … but that’s not as much of a problem for us as it is for you, because any given decision is only going to affect one seat, which isn’t usually going to change the overall outcome of the election. Even if it is, we probably won’t know that for sure, since it depends on the outcome of negotiations between the larger parties and the smaller parties.

            (Come to think of it, if your Electoral College worked the way it was intended to, there’d be no way to be sure that the Presidency would hinge on the result of the vote in any particular district. Any argument about hanging chads or whatever would presumably be much lower-key.)

            Do you want the presidency hanging on whether a clerk thinks a chad was 45% punches of 55% punched, when the clerk knows that?

            I think better that than the clerk (or, in some cases, pretty much anybody else in the vicinity) knowing that they can change the vote totals directly without any significant risk of getting caught. At least the clerk’s decision can be taken to the courts if it comes to that.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Well, empirically, a whole lot of people don’t have high confidence in the last election right now.

            And regarding paper ballots – what do you think about my second idea, which I like better than the first anyway?

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            Perhaps I should say “a clear wrong answer is preferred over a fuzzy right answer.” The point of elections is to avoid civil war. If the answer to an election is “I dunno who won” we’ve lost that.

            On your paper ballot idea, I’ve suggested it myself years ago. The computer spits out a paper ballot that is then inserted into the official vote counting box. You don’t worry if the computer is hacked or whatever. It’s just an assistant and not to be trusted.

          • webnaut says:

            @Aapje

            Thanks. Inelegant but it’ll work.

        • cassander says:

          I believe James’ claim was that their outgroup was “a different group of american citizens”, not that “the outgroup isn’t american citizens”.

          • Iain says:

            And ChetC3’s response was that the American right’s outgroup is, in fact, the American left — which is, last anybody checked, still made up of American citizens.

        • The original Mr. X says:

          There are different levels of outgroup and ingroup. The impression I get is that, in general, for the American right the American left is the outgroup compared to other members of the American right, but the ingroup compared to foreigners.

        • James Miller says:

          The mainstream right doesn’t consider the American left to be the outgroup, for the right the left is pathetic, not evil. I might be defining “outgroup” differently from you. For me, the outgroup are people you can’t tolerate, people you think deserve to suffer.

          • Aapje says:

            @Miller

            I would argue exactly the opposite. The ‘Republicans vote against their self-interest’ narrative is condescension, not fear. And the American right’s willingness to block any Democrat legislation that they could, seems based on a belief that it cannot be innocent, but comes from an evil place.

            Of course, this was all pre-election stuff, so perhaps you want to argue that Tuesday changed the narrative.

          • James Miller says:

            Aapje,

            The Dem outgroup is the set of Republicans whom the left considers to be racist, sexist, homophobic, or Islamicphobic not Republicans who are perceived to have voted against their self-interests for these Republicans are considered merely fools.

          • Aapje says:

            Isn’t a more accurate model that each side has different outgroups, with different levels of dislike & ‘take seriousness?’

          • Civilis says:

            Isn’t a more accurate model that each side has different outgroups, with different levels of dislike & ‘take seriousness?’

            I think it’s instructive to look at who the ‘heretics’ are, the people that should be members of the group but aren’t. To the right, Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson are members of the ingroup; to the left, they’re not just members of the outgroup but also heretics. Same with Christina Hoff Sommers; same with Milo Yiannopoulos. You can see it in the way they are treated. We don’t like the outgroup; we despise the heretics.

            Yet, who are the heretics on the right? The only ones I can think of are the RINOs; people elected as members of the ingroup to represent the ingroup that vote for the policies of the outgroup. (I could argue that the never-Trump Republicans and the Trump Republicans both briefly considered the other as heretics, but politics from the outgroup has mostly pushed them back together.)

            It’s an artifact of the Group Identity politics of the left; the left is committed to appealing to black voters, to feminist voters, to non-cisheteronormative voters. The right appeals to conservatives and libertarians; explicitly primitive labels. The right does appeal to various religious group identities, but those come in knowing that there are other religious groups in the tent and that they have to share.

            The reason the right is worked up about Muslims is the perceived dual-loyalty issue. Back when Catholics were a reliable Democratic constituency, the right was worried about the loyalty of the Kennedy family; if it came to choosing between the Pope and America, if the Kennedys would choose the Pope. We’ve recognized that this isn’t a real issue with Catholics, but the cases we’ve seen in the US with admittedly a very small percentage of Muslims have brought those same sorts of fears back to the fore.

            The US has interfered in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Europe both in support of Muslim groups (Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) and against (Iran, Iraq, ISIS, Palestine). For example, with the Fort Hood shooting, we had an American born Muslim serving in the US Army that became radicalized and convinced his identification with his co-religionists outweighed any duty to his country; in other words, he became a heretic to the American ‘group’.

    • tscharf says:

      The thing I noticed that was unique this time was when the media / left publicly turned on the electorate en masse. This used to be off limits (for very good reasons), but bizarre attempts of social anthropology on Trump voters was widespread this cycle, and to say much of it was uncharitable is an understatement.

      What was also important in this cycle was the clear and convincing loss of authority that the media and academia suffered. They were almost unanimous in their contempt for Trump, but yet Trump won. Welcome to democracy in action. Trust in media collapsed, especially on the right, and is at all time lows. It is my view that expected media bias is now built in to the electorate’s decision making and that is good for nobody.

      The latest Buzzfeed Trump smear doesn’t help either, although it is noted that many outlets refrained from reporting this to their credit. However, out it is, and the media reported it far and wide. It was kind of an intentionally constructed Streisand Effect.

      • Randy M says:

        The latest Buzzfeed Trump smear doesn’t help either

        I missed this story, but from what I gather they misrepresented his position on Growth Mindset?

      • Moon says:

        The thing I noticed that was unique this time was when the media / left publicly turned on the electorate en masse.”

        America’s most trusted news source is Fox News. It supported Trump.

        Fox News is the most trusted national news channel. And it’s not that close.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/03/09/fox-news-is-the-most-trusted-national-news-channel-and-its-not-that-close/?utm_term=.cbfe810e42b4

        The Right Wing media is the mainstream media, even though it constantly pretends not to be. The Right Wing media elected Trump.

        “bizarre attempts of social anthropology on Trump voters was widespread this cycle, and to say much of it was uncharitable is an understatement.”

        Is it more uncharitable than the vitriol aimed at the Left by Fox, Breitbart, Drudge etc.? Take a look at those “news sources” and see if you can honestly say it is.

        Trust in non Right Wing media had already collapsed decades before Trump was elected, and that is why he got elected.

        he political scientist who saw Trump’s rise coming
        Norm Ornstein on why the Republican Party was ripe for a takeover, what the media missed, and whether Trump could win the presidency.
        http://www.vox.com/2016/5/6/11598838/donald-trump-predictions-norm-ornstein

        • Aapje says:

          @Moon

          The problem with those poll results is that they are just relative for one type of media. They can very easily be the result of very little trust in any news channel.

          Theoretically, it is possible that many respondents favor a non-new channel left-wing news source more than any news channel by a large amount and that they favor Fox as a counter-balance to this.

          For example, if a person thinks that the Communist Daily is 99% reliable, fox news 1% and the other networks 0%; is it meaningful to say that they favor a right wing news source?

          I consider these results rather meaningless without further data.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Plus, they’re subject to the same problem as all single-choice plurality voting. Only 29% of people polled favor Fox News; perhaps the other 71% all believe Fox to be horribly biased but disagree on which single other news channel is best?

          • Aapje says:

            That too, Fox is probably an outlier that benefits from being different.

        • tscharf says:

          I don’t read Breitbart or Drudge so don’t really know what they do. I mostly follow print media online.

          My observation is only that the right tends to criticize the candidate more and the left was different with a more focused trashing of the (right) electorate than previously (NYT/WP). Mostly a “How can someone be so stupid to vote for Trump”. This is a legitimate question given Trump’s flaws, but I think it was not handled very gracefully. The assumption was made that the electorate was attracted to the worst of Trump’s flaws, instead of voting for him in spite of them.

          This isn’t something that has hard lines, left and right trashing each other in all ways has endless examples.

        • Fox News is the most trusted national news channel. The Right Wing media is the mainstream media, even though it constantly pretends not to be.

          Most trusted by 29% of respondents. The rest are divided among five other channels, none of them right wing.

          That doesn’t make them “the mainstream media.”

        • rlms says:

          @DavidFriedman
          It doesn’t mean that the mainstream media is only then, but I think it is obvious that they are the largest part of the mainstream media.

    • Jaskologist says:

      My memory is the opposite of yours; I remember quite a lot of vitriol in the days of Chimpy McBushitler.

      I think mostly this is a matter of people noticing nastiness by their enemies more. I don’t think it’s possible to analyze objectively.

      (This item recently linked by xenosystems does seem vaguely connected, though.)

      • Randy M says:

        Maybe dndnrsn is differentiating between hatred of the opposing party leader and hatred of the opposing party members or voters? I can’t say whether there was a difference, but I can’t imagine him saying there was not widely expressed loathing of GWB.
        I don’t have data on levels of outright hatred of the president over time, but I don’t expect outside margin of error differences in different presidents since, oh, Nixon I guess. But I wasn’t here for much of that, so that’s not really evidence of anything, just a caution about drawing conclusions from short time frames.

        • dndnrsn says:

          This would have been a better way of putting it. I remember the view of the Republican base being, essentially, What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank’s thesis: these people are getting conned by the rich, who trick them into voting for stuff the rich want by lying to them about the social conservative stuff they’ll get. It was condescending, but it was at least sympathetic. I think the portrayal of the Republican base in mainstream left sources was much, much nastier this time around.

      • Moon says:

        Interesting stuff there. Thanks. Incredible paranoia about a few peaceful protests on inauguration day, as if they are going to be some big violent deal. The guy’s fear and hatred of people of the Left, and his kind of paranoid fantasies that people on the Left are more violent than those on the Right, are amazing.

        Of course, if you look far and wide, you can find some example of someone somewhere on the Left being violent. But people on the Left are 99% door mats. Why do you think that the vast majority of Left of Center readers are afraid to comment on the board here? Because they are so cruel, but yet despite that, they are self policing themselves, so that they won’t hurt the feelings of the vulnerable Right of Center that is the majority of the commentariat here? Well, if you think that, guess again.

        Breitbart, Fox, Drudge etc. constantly try to trigger fear and hatred of the Left, and the view that the Left is Evil Incarnate, and the view that the Right is pure as the driven snow. Now most of the Right Wing is thoroughly convinced of that, despite tons of evidence to the contrary.

        • Winter Shaker says:

          Are the vast majority of left-of-centre readers afraid to comment here? I’m not sure how you’d go about finding that out, unless it was specifically asked in one of Scott’s surveys.

          I mean, I’m vaguely left-of-centre and I agree that it feels like there is more of a right-wing and/or libertarian slant among the commentariat than most other blogs I read, but it could be that this blog simply attracts more readers from those worldviews.

          • TenMinute says:

            Performative fear of the dissenting Other has been a winning strategy for seizing control of “spaces”, from universities, to BBSes, to reading groups.
            It is possibly less likely to work here, because Scott is (almost) the sole moderator, and he has faced being the target of that tactic in the past.

            Tribal loyalty may win out in the end though.

          • Nornagest says:

            Well, the surveys persistently turn up more than half of readers identifying as liberal or socialist (vs. 20-25% libertarian and very few conservatives), but the comments themselves don’t seem to match that. It’s not that we’re short of left-leaning voices, but the only left-leaning argument I consistently see being pushed, or at least saw before the election, was that we need more leftists in the comments. But is that down to fear? I’m skeptical; on a mostly-anonymous board, all anyone would have to be afraid of is getting dogpiled, and if the surveys are trustworthy there should be a lot more dogs on the left-hand side of the kennel.

            Left/right might be cutting it too coarsely, though. If most of the left-leaning people here prefer a more technocratic as opposed to identitarian tack (as does seem to be the case), they likely wouldn’t be starting many arguments — the technocratic left isn’t remotely libertarian and does have its differences with the “smart redneck” moderate-rightist crowd, but the differences are boring and technical and unlikely to catch fire. And they probably wouldn’t feel too inclined to step up with our few token identitarians when those fights start, because really, who wants to?

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          Of course, if you look far and wide, you can find some example of someone somewhere on the Left being violent.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Portland,_Oregon_riots

          • Over my lifetime, I can remember lots of cases of speakers, usually at colleges, being prevented from speaking, usually by being shouted down. I cannot remember any case where it was a left wing speaker being shouted down by right wing students.

            Can you (Moon) point at one?

      • Edward Scizorhands says:

        I think mostly this is a matter of people noticing nastiness by their enemies more.

        +1. HeelBearCub pointed this out once, in trying to stop people from dogpiling on a certain user who posts silly stuff. He pointed out two users, each posting Applause Lights but for different audiences, and how one would get attacked and the other ignored.

        I groan when I think of correcting someone posting silly stuff that agrees with my tribe. I might do it, but it’s like a chore of washing windows, and the best result will be an unsatisfying “well, I’m still right in substance even if I got a few details wrong.” While correcting someone from the other tribe feels righteous and rewarding.

    • Paul Brinkley says:

      This was a thing in 2004: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesusland_map

      Also: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/fuck-the-south/Content?oid=19816

      I continue to maintain that things got this way primarily because 9/11 forced everyone to take political stands they wouldn’t have taken otherwise. Right around then, the news was also feeling the hit from declining subscriptions, and increasing percentages of revenues being ad-driven, forcing them to resort to sensationalism to grab more eyeballs. We have a perfect storm of pot-stirring political climate as a result.

  17. AnarchyDice says:

    Various commenters were talking about the federal budget proposals in the previous open thread, but it got me wondering when they described the deficit as 9 trillion over ten years. Is there some relevant factor I’m missing in all of this?

    Why are federal budgets described by their ten year projections when they are renewed every year or few years at most? It just seems like a nonsense way to exaggerate deficits by a factor of ten.

    • cassander says:

      Congressional budgets include longer term projections of their impact, 10 years usually, though there are exceptions. Theoretically, this is a good practice that prevents people from gaming the budget year to year to make their proposals look cheaper or more expansive than they actually are and takes into account that costs for things can be uneven. In practice, however, it’s a convention that’s starting to get gamed. The ACA, for example, was heavily backloaded to reduce its apparent cost through the standard window.

      • ThirteenthLetter says:

        Realistically, it’s been gamed for a long time. Under Bush the GOP congress was (in)famous for writing up budget plans that had all their savings in the out-years. Then the next year’s budget would push all those savings out one more year, and so forth. At this point I’m not even certain it’s worth doing, although it’s probably a bigger problem that budgets never get passed through normal order any more — we should fix that first.

    • AnarchyDice says:

      I hadn’t thought of it from the perspective of trying to make deficits seem less or benefits seem more by gaming it that way, considering the massive deficits they give in ten year totals.

      Not that I have a better solution, accounting is a cluster of fun based on who is making what assumptions when.

      Side note, found some data they published about their own accuracy. https://www.cbo.gov/publication/50831
      They have better accuracy than I would have guessed before reading this, but not particularly great accuracy if they’re getting between 10-15% off by six years out, and that being averaged out to be in the direction of guessing higher revenues than received and lower costs than paid.

  18. Lila Rieber says:

    You may need to update your review of the risks of THC: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2017/Cannabis-Health-Effects/Cannabis-conclusions.pdf

    Notably:
    “There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia or other psychoses, with the highest risk among the most frequent users.” (In the full book they clarify that this is causal.)
    “There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and increased risk of motor vehicle crashes.”

    I’m very high-risk for psychosis, and the only reason I used THC (in limited amounts) was based on your post saying that it probably wasn’t causal for psychosis.

    • S_J says:

      I’ve seen discussions of anecdotal evidence…statements by mental-health professional that a large number of people treated for schizophrenia in the U.S. were users of cannabis before they were diagnosed with schizophrenia.

      However, it was hard to get good statistical evidence on this. And it was harder to get statistical evidence of the number of cannabis users who were never diagnosed with schizophrenia.

      Thus, the relative risk of cannabis use was hard to measure. Mostly because the legal risk of anyone admitting cannabis use, and the lack of information about the potency of THC combinations used by various people.

      With those caveats in mind, I haven’t looked closely at the article you linked.

      Do those authors have a way around the problems I’ve stated?

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      You seem to be overstating both the report and Scott’s blog entry.

      (In the full book they clarify that this is causal.)

      Do you have a pincite? I see lots of talk about “assocation” and this quote is from page 238: “As noted in Box 12-1, the relationship between cannabis use, cannabis use disorder, and psychoses may be multi-directional and complex.

      This is essentially the same non-conclusion offered in the SSC marijuana explainer. He lists a bunch of studies, including one providing a relative risk, and even includes an increase in schizophrenia cases in his util analysis. I certainly do not see anything that could be construed as “probably not causal, smoke ’em if you got ’em.”

      • Lila Rieber says:

        In the book it says, “Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use the greater the risk.”

  19. Graeme says:

    I read a news story years ago about the work of a sociologist (?). He classified various kinds of magical thinking in modern culture and how that relates to the ways we assign worth. I think he came up with 5 categories and they all linked back to classical kinds of magic.

    One of his classification examples was that signatures from famous people are seen as valuable, while identical copies made by others aren’t.

    Does anyone remember who this was and what the classifications are?

    • rin573 says:

      Are you thinking of Matthew Hutson? He wrote a book on “Seven Laws of Magical Thinking” and there was an article in Psychology Today a few years ago going over the main ideas.

      • Graeme says:

        I don’t think that was exactly what I remember (though it could be about the same guy). Very interesting read all the same. Thanks!

  20. Atlas says:

    Some random thoughts about the “open borders for Israel” meme/argument:

    This seems like a ubiquitous part of almost every white nationalist’s world view: from innumerable Twitter trolls to every other Ramzpaul video to “Jewish Double Standards on Immigration and Multiculturalism in Israel vs. the Diaspora” being one of the tags with the highest # of entries on the Occidental Observer dot com. Recently, Richard Spencer—with a more humorous than malicious tone—put this question to a rabbi, who was evidently struck speechless by it and Kevin MacDonald’s speech at the NPI conference dealt with it to a considerable extent .

    I want to emphasize that I don’t think this argument is wrong per se. If you get really emotionally disturbed by nationalism by European people, in the sense of supporting restrictionist racial/ethnic immigration policies, but not so upset about the exact same policies being taken as the baseline in countries like Israel, Japan and South Korea, you should probably re-think your world view a little. But I do think that it’s a limited and shallow argument in quite a few ways that many white nationalists and anti-white nationalists might not appreciate, since many of the former seem to expect that their opponents’ heads will explode when presented with it.

    1) While it is inconsistent in an absolute sense to support (or at least not actively oppose) a Jewish majority in Israel while actively opposing a Euro-American majority in the U.S., I think people don’t think about politics in absolute so much as relative terms. That is to say, I think people think about the politics of different countries and time periods within their respective Overton Windows. (For example, progressives generally like Abraham Lincoln even though they would crucify a modern politician with his stated views on race because he was considerably less racist than many of his contemporaries.) The live issues in the U.S., in terms of things like immigration and affirmative action, on the globalism/nationalism scale are pretty far to the globalist side in terms of the median acceptable viewpoint, whereas in Israel, with stuff like wars and the status of the occupied territories, they’re further to the nationalist side. But I think that, generally speaking, people who have a relatively globalist or nationalist tilt in one country’s politics relative to the center will also have that tilt in the other’s.

    Thus, while a typical left-liberal like Matt Yglesias probably wouldn’t support, if asked, the exact same immigration policies for the US and Israel, they probably also are on the more dovish/pro-Palestinian side of the Israeli Overton Window on issues like military actions and settlements. So if you angrily tweet at Yglesias “but whatabout open borders for Israel!11!!1!??” it doesn’t really emotionally trigger him, despite the logical contradiction, because in both cases the political tribe he identifies with is the one that opposes nationalism/ethnocentrism and tries to push for inter-group cooperation. (For better or for worse.)

    Another example of this is how Asian-Americans, despite hailing from countries with very restrictive immigration policies, tend to vote by considerable margins for the more pro-immigration Democratic Party in the US. (Even when, as with Japanese-Americans today, the immigration of their own ethnic group isn’t a relevant issue.) But that isn’t because they’re hypocrites nefariously plotting to destroy Western civilization; it’s because they think about politics in the context of the country of their residence/birth/socialization, not the ethno-state that their co-ethnics live in.

    Again, this isn’t to say that its unfair or incorrect to point out such a contradiction, only to explain why it isn’t as powerful of a gotcha as many white nationalists seem to expect it would be.

    2) The person to whom you should properly address the question of “open borders for Israel?” is someone who actually supports open borders for the US. Open borders, the unrestricted flow of people between countries, is a position held generally (though this is perhaps changing) by libertarians like Bryan Caplan and leftists like Chris Bertram fairly far out of the mainstream political debate. And I really wouldn’t be at all surprised if they would support open borders for Israel if asked. (And I think a fair number of leftists, at least judging by the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at my college, are generally very critical of Israel and support a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which seems like it should reasonably shield them from any suspicion of being overly fond of Zionism.)

    And this ties into point 1 in that I would conjecture that “globalists” in the Anglosphere/Europe, whether they consciously see it this way or not, would like to ultimately build a Fukuyaman end of history world of perpetual peace, global capitalism and democracy wherein older boundaries of and conflicts between nations, religions and races are naturally eroded over time. And I suspect that they wouldn’t really have any problem (again, for better or for worse) with Jewish identity, in addition to all other identities, being dissolved in such a world. And I would conjecture that this is often reflected in their personal lives, insofar as they marry and have children with non-Jews and don’t try too hard to impart a Jewish cultural/religious heritage to their children.

    3) There are a lot of differences between the US, continental European countries and Israel besides the fact that Israel is a Jewish state that might lead people to support different immigration policies for them. Israel is much smaller in terms of population and territory; Israel was/is in a state of frequent semi-militarized conflict with its neighbors; Israel specifically is extraordinarily disliked by large portions of the world; and the ethnic group comprising Israel was the victim of a genocide still within living memory.

    The point being, I suspect that if the population of such a country was Japanese or Mexican or Norwegian many of the same people who are now accused of having inconsistent positions on immigration because Israel is Jewish would also have seemingly inconsistent positions, despite not being Japanese, Mexican or Norwegian. Conversely, if Israel was a totally peaceful country on the European continent with a population of 100 million and a long history, I strongly suspect many American Jews would indeed support e.g. Israel taking in lots of Syrian refugees.

    • Dr Dealgood says:

      The point of the meme, and one of the reasons it works, is that it creates a rhetorical trap for establishment figures.

      Mainstream Liberal and “Conservative” politicians are across-the-board vocally pro-Israel and pro-Zionism, even if they quietly disagree with Israeli policy in terms of their personal politics. This, of course, makes sense. Being pro-Israel pulls in a lot of money from wealthy donors and can be used to mobilize Evangelical Christian voters. Being anti-Israel, in contrast, invites suspicion of antisemitism from the media: who is this person, and why do they care about Jews so much?

      So by framing the question this way you can force people to either refute Israel’s Right to Exist or to endorse an explicitly racial immigration policy, either of which is politically unacceptable. In practice most do what you do here: throw out a bunch of unconvincing special pleading which reinforces the idea of elite hypocrisy.

      (There is a way out of the trap, which a lot of folks on the non-mainstream Left take. You can oppose the ideas of a Jewish Israel and a White America simultaneously and for the same reason. It’s not a position restricted to gentiles either: most of the Jews I knew growing up held this position.)

      • AnonEEmous says:

        You know, frankly, I’ve never gotten the “israel has racial immigration” meme. Israel has plenty of diversity, including even non-Jewish migrants, lots of Arabs, and so forth. It’s not like you can’t get in if you aren’t Jewish, at least to the best of my knowledge. It’s more like “original descendents of this country can return anytime they want; everyone else is subject to additional controls, just like every other country”. Moreover, usually it’s directed at American Jews, who are squishy as hell when it comes to supporting Israel anyhow, versus Israeli Jews, who don’t fuck with American Jews half the time anyhow and are definitely non-squishy.

    • webnaut says:

      I think what disconcerts rightists is the ‘Wedge’ issue. The minority appears to treat the majority as if it shall always exist, even as they invite other minorities in. Personally I think this is short sighted.

      Suppose this trend continues for a while. Now there are no majorities, only a mixture of minorities and no obvious ‘overlord’ group. Okay.

      The question a rightist now has is: Why? Have we not landed ourselves in an incredibly dangerous situation?

      We can observe that birds of a feather self select to be in each others company. Different groups won’t dissolve into each other like South Park’s ‘goobacks’ from the future. Some groups are always going to blame other groups for something. There would be a fragmentation process where similar groups merge and dissimilar ones fly further apart.

      I believe the majority served a function in creating a kind of balance. Once you’ve removed the majority as ‘moderator’, you have a society made of rival factions but no cohesion. It is easy now for some groups to overwhelm others because there is no penalty for doing so.

      It is generally accepted that a hegemony in politics is a positive thing, it encourages peace. For example; America has been the world’s ‘umpire’ for quite a while now, mostly it has been a success since no major powers have gone to war, which against the benchmark of history is remarkable.

      Without having a majority power, you create the equivalent of the multi-polar world within a nation state. Do we start giving different States or Religions or other internal factions WMDs to keep the peace running?

      • TenMinute says:

        But the left’s answer is that we must dissolve into each other, because there is now no other option (and it’s too late to object to their policies that caused this situation in the first place).
        Either they don’t agree with you that a fragmentation process will happen, or they don’t care.

        • webnaut says:

          This seems totalitarian to me.

          I don’t mind who people marry. If whites and blacks and asians want to interbreed, that is their business. However from that statement it follows it’s not my business if they *don’t* interbreed either.

          Zenophiles are a tiny minority. The statistics on web dating prove that different groups definitely exhibit ingroup preferences.

          I think the Internet is holding up a mirror to society and showing many elements of reality that could have been papered over or dismissed as non-existent in former times.

          Talking of ignoring reality, I’m fascinated by the existence of the panorama of sexual proclivities found online, which seems to be ignored by the academics who study humans.

          It seems to me it should be ‘boom time’ for research for them, yet I believe the only studies I’ve heard of come from the porn sites themselves. Is there a reason for this or have I missed something?

          • Dr Dealgood says:

            Zenophiles are a tiny minority.

            Very true. Most people want to reach the climax in a finite amount of time. /pedantry

            As for studies, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a great deal of research on porn consumption. The issue is that sexology isn’t exactly the firmest ground to build on. I wouldn’t particularly trust research coming out of that corner of academia given their strong biases and poor track record.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        There are three problems here:

        1. You use the example of US hegemony in the world as an analogue of hegemony by one cultural group within a country. But the US is 5% of the world. A majority is not necessary to enforce hegemony, at least not the extremely incomplete sort of hegemony that the US has now.

        2. You agree with certain experts that hegemony is good for peace, but as far as I’m aware Metternich’s multipolar system is still the winner.

        3. It is a fact that groups dissolve into each other. South Park is not evidence. What is evidence is the percentage of US Jews who can speak Yiddish.

        • cassander says:

          > A majority is not necessary to enforce hegemony, at least not the extremely incomplete sort of hegemony that the US has now.

          The US has a lot more than 5% of the world’s power though. In sheer military power, the US probably does have something like a majority.

        • webnaut says:

          1. Thoughts on hegemony.

          I mention (not clearly, and they are intertwined) two types of hegemony. Cultural and Military.

          A Military hegemony obviously doesn’t require a literal majority demographically, but does require a monopoly on the use of force. In that sense, the USA is a military majority. Indeed they spend more on weapons systems than most of the other countries in the world put together.

          Cultural hegemony is more complicated. Within a country over long periods e.g. decades to centuries, it does matter who is the majority in a society, because they set the market demands and the ‘tone’ of a society.

          As for cultural domination between countries, I would argue that it should be cherry picked. I like many aspects of American culture, but dislike many other parts of it. I’m sure Americans can empathize with my plight.

          So there are probably some parts of culture which are objectively better or worse (and so we ought to all ‘upgrade’ to the better parts), but other parts are geographically specific and yet other parts are optional.

          A great example of this is the Japanese. They copied the Victorian pocket doors and umbrellas. That is not what made their nation an industrial society. Yet somehow their copying of Anglo culture managed to copy some superior systems along with some of the miscellanea. Then the Japanese managed to improve on many aspects of a culture that was originally my own. They never became ‘Anglo’. They became a different, more sophisticated, Japanese people. This is the model I would approve of.

          2. Thoughts on unipolar/bipolar/multipolar systems.

          I agree this subject is more complicated than I’ve suggested. Each polarity has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is not clear to me that a unipolar world was preferable to a bipolar world for example, because it seems to me that America stagnated in some vital ways since the Cold War ended.

          My prior is that a multi-polar world with WMDs is more dangerous than either a bi-polar or uni-polar world. I feel I need to do more research in this area though, so this assumption may change.

          3. Thoughts on Groups assimilating into each other.

          No. Here we disagree.

          As I have mentioned somewhere on this thread, different groups do *not* actually merge together. Internet dating studies confirm it. A small minority do but the majority do not. This pattern is so universal it can only be something biological.

          https://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/race-attraction-2009-2014/

          US Jews failing to learn Yiddish is not evidence Jews will not exist in America’s future. I write and speak English, but my genes aren’t English. It’s easier to ‘dissolve’ memetics than genetics.

          The Jewish people will adapt and change (e.g. dropping Yiddish) but I fully expect that in 100 years time the genetic stock will be extremely similar. Not just biology but also in culture. I expect than in 2117, people will be able to point at a person and say “That’s a Jewish person”. What “Jew” meant culturally could have changed but in a deeper more important sense, it won’t have because culture is downstream from biology and that won’t have changed much.

          • Dr Dealgood says:

            In the specific case of American Jews, you’re incorrect. There has been a massive amount of intermarriage by non-Orthodox Jews: their current population numbers are buoyed up by the combination of high birth rates and low retention rates of the Haredim. If there are still American Jews in a century they will be almost entirely the descendants of today’s Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

            More generally, I think it’s an understandable mistake to see a small percentage of exogamy and say that this won’t have a significant impact in the long term. I’m running out the door now but brief periods of contact can have lasting genetic ramifications.

          • Spookykou says:

            Indeed they spend more on weapons systems than most of the other countries in the world put together.

            I think that the US military budget is between 30-50% of the world’s military budget depending on where you look.

    • > are generally very critical of Israel and support a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

      How? Its very clearly the Rwanda solution for the Jews in Isreal.

      Who the hell thinks that bringing together two groups, one of which had to build a border wall enforced by the military to stop constant terrorist attacks and suicide bombings, is a good idea?

      • Silder says:

        Who the hell thinks that bringing together two groups, one of which had to build a border wall enforced by the military to stop constant terrorist attacks and suicide bombings, is a good idea?

        Everyone who wants Muslim immigration into Europe?

      • birdboy2000 says:

        I do.

        Mostly because I (like the public statements of most of the groups actually carrying out these attacks) treat Palestinian terrorism not as an expression of genocidal hatred against the Jewish people or their presence in Palestine, but as acts of irregular warfare aimed at the destruction of the Israeli state.

        People do awful things in war – and Israel has atrocities to reckon with as well. It doesn’t preclude the possibility of ever making peace.

        • You may not like the way peace is accomplished when confronted with societies that may have expansionist and violently angry philosophies, or perhaps just have a national feeling of vengeance.

          ““Negotiators can’t get what he wants. Anyway, Iranians can’t use one [a nuclear weapon] if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands,” Powell wrote, LobeLog reported.

          “As Akmdinijad (sic) [said], ‘What would we do with one, polish it?’ I have spoken publicly about both nK (North Korea) and Iran. We’ll blow up the only thing they care about — regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?” he said, referring to former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

        • webnaut says:

          In my country Catholics and Protestants originally fought together.

          Gradually it became about race and religion. People with nuanced views were naturally selected.

          There is something of a game theory quality to sectarianism. Notice how only the most radical Islamist factions remained in Syria after only a short time.

          Similarly many non-natives migrants to Europe may switch to ‘their own’ if the terrorism succeeds, thus propagating more terror/civil war. That’s how sectarianism works.

          It irritates me a great deal when people compare ‘falls in bath/showers’ or ‘number of car accidents’ to terrorism. The true threat is the chain reaction of violence that occurs when enough people who are angry and afraid reaches critical mass.

          • Moon says:

            Well, since it is apparently nowhere near critical mass now, why should we address it now? Why shouldn’t we do like we do with climate change, where we are planning to address it at the last minute, if ever? Why should it be a more urgent concern than things where there is plenty of evidence that they are more urgent now? I mean other than it being a political hot button issue that successfully wins votes for people like DT?

          • webnaut says:

            @Moon

            Good question.

            We should address it now because humans can reproduce their offspring and memetics geometrically.

            Talking about humans in this way often causes a ‘mental block’. Let’s talk about mold in houses instead.

            When a mold starts in a spot, usually near the ceiling in a corner of a kitchen or bathroom, it appears to spread slowly. It covers the wall and ceiling by Day 25, but say only half by Day 24 etc.

            The population growth rates and growth in violence are interconnected because of resource constraints. The left will say ‘education, housing, healthcare’ the right will say ‘genetics’, ‘culture’, and both are correct.

            In many scenarios Biology and Culture are an inseparable feedback loop.

            Islam is an ideology (there are parallels with Catholicism, which once used a similar strategy, and still does in Africa) that generates conflict with a reproductive strategy (mass repro-attack, like a tank rush in a game) that deliberately generates high population to generate poverty to generate conflict and thus take over in totality.

            tldr; It’s about population growth rates and how social conditioning can reinforce each other to create a spiral towards an ultimate conflict. Islam is just one prominent example, there are others e.g. pyramid schemes, supremacist ideology.

        • ThirteenthLetter says:

          Mostly because I (like the public statements of most of the groups actually carrying out these attacks) treat Palestinian terrorism not as an expression of genocidal hatred against the Jewish people or their presence in Palestine, but as acts of irregular warfare aimed at the destruction of the Israeli state.

          What is the practical difference between those two objectives? At the end of the day, Israel is still destroyed and the Jews are all gone, one way or another.

          People do awful things in war – and Israel has atrocities to reckon with as well. It doesn’t preclude the possibility of ever making peace.

          Pretty words, but what is the specific proposal here?

          • If for some reason, there was a violent displacement of muslims during WW2 and a great amount of from europe or somewhere else were moved into that area, perhaps displacing other groups of people(known to be muslim) would there still be terrorist attacks to that day? And calls of politicians in nearby countries saying “Death to *whatever the name would be* ”

            Assume the group moved into the area were also the same specific sub-set, like sunni/shia

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            If you’re imagining specifically that, say, Sunnis were moved into a Shia area? I could see that happening, assuming that the world indulged and enabled the anti-Sunni factions in the same way they indulge and enable the anti-Israel ones.

            I’m willing to agree that Middle Eastern Islamic antipathy to Israel isn’t fundamentally about Judaism — yes, there are anti-Semitic elements in the Quran and elsewhere, but it’s not like most other places in the world are in a position to throw stones. It’s more that the pre-existing anti-Semitism in the west and in the Middle East is used as a convenient weapon by anti-Zionists.

          • birdboy2000 says:

            The State of Israel being destroyed need not mean the massacre of Jews in Palestine. The proposal of most Palestinian resistance groups (historically, and currently among those who reject the two-state solution AFAIK) is a state comprised of the current Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip, governed on a one-person, one-vote basis, which allows the return of Palestinian refugees and does not discriminate based on religion.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @birdboy2000

            Almost no one believes that’s viable. If you were to have your one-person one-vote state with right of Palestinian return, as soon as Jews became the minority they’d be expelled or killed.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            @The Nybbler: I agree that a binational state would turn into an instant bloodbath, but I slightly disagree with the ultimate result in that it’s entirely possible the Jews would refuse to let themselves be killed or chased out. Give it a year or two and you might have Israel right back where it was before, only way more angry and bitter and disinclined to listen to international do-gooders.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        Bosnia is OK.

    • ivvenalis says:

      I think this:

      The live issues in the U.S., in terms of things like immigration and affirmative action, on the globalism/nationalism scale are pretty far to the globalist side in terms of the median acceptable viewpoint, whereas in Israel, with stuff like wars and the status of the occupied territories, they’re further to the nationalist side.

      is just restating the meme. The whole point is that stuff that’s beyond the pale in the United States (“Build a Wall to Keep Our Country X”) is the “moderate” position in Israel. That’s on top of the fact that plenty of people who think it’s unacceptable to Build the Wall apparently support Likud. “Well, Israel is less globalist than Britain” — but why? And wouldn’t that imply that pro-globalism people should be spending more time denouncing Israeli policy?

      Regarding the actual term “open borders”, Open Borders is indeed something of a fringe policy to advocate explicitly, but right-wingers like to point out that lots of leftists act “as if” Open Borders is the correct position even if they don’t use that term. The practical difference between “anyone who shows up can live here” and Open Borders is nil. Additionally both the humanitarian and especially economic arguments for Open Borders are often employed rhetorically but without explicitly taking them to their logical conclusions. Again, the difference between “more immigrants improves our economy without diminishing returns, and these economic improvements are greater than any downsides” and Open Borders is nonexistent.

      I’m not sure why (the perception of) Israel being a militarized pariah state or whether European Jews were subject to an attempted genocide is an argument for why Israel shouldn’t take in refugees or allow more non-Jewish settlement.

  21. cmurdock says:

    Regarding that Jaskology post about magic, this part struck me as probably inaccurate:

    “In a book filled with Platonic-style proofs, this is the only part where he actually gives the reader an experiment that they can try themselves. That is how confident Athanasius is in this argument. It is hard to imagine that he would have felt this way if he had not personally witnessed the experiment carried out on numerous occasions.”

    I recently read two books that touched somewhat on this kind of thinking: “The Invention of Science” and “Magic in the Middle Ages”. Going off of both of them, it is quite striking how frequent it used to be for people to swear by the effectiveness of various bizarre rituals of folk magic which they cannot possibly have seen work (like using garlic to destroy a magnet). The entire idea that one ought to test some procedure in order to determine if it works might be one of those things that is more modern than people realize.

  22. Liriodendron says:

    I love your blog! It’s in my aggregator on my list of the “best” 10% that I prioritize reading. I even recommended it in my Christmas letter this year. XD

    Can I direct you to another of my favorites that I think you’d like, Jane the Actuary? Some of my favorite posts by her recently have been about Aleppo (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2016/12/aleppo-war-like.html) and Trump’s options for distancing himself from his business interests (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2016/11/on-trumps-business-dealings-the-right-answer-isnt-clear.html). They’re short but rational.

    I’m also commenting on her blog here (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2017/01/open-forum-predictions-please.html#comment-3101685158) to connect you in the other direction. (I’m not affiliated with her blog.)

  23. dndnrsn says:

    This is something I have been bouncing around in my head for a while but have little confidence that it is correct. It could just be confirmation bias, arguing from too few examples, an attempt to build a theory from little evidence, etc. So, this is “pondered, not really endorsed” level. This could be absolute BS. Anyway: In modern times, does the right have a tendency to be shitty to the outgroup that the left doesn’t have, and the left a tendency to turn on itself in a way the right doesn’t?

    Big Godwin-y “large scale” example: It is generally agreed that national socialism is the all-time worst manifestation of anything on the right (people do argue that the Nazis were left-wing, but I think that’s BS; an argument can be made that they were “radical centrists” or something like that, but I think, overall, that if they fall anywhere it’s on the right – in any case this is an argument for another time). It is also generally agreed that Stalin’s rule was the all-time worst manifestation of anything on the left (some say Mao, but again an argument for another time, and there are enough similarities that you could say Mao without it changing as an example).

    Nazi Germany, of course, was absolutely horrible to anyone perceived as the outgroup, especially along racial/national lines. They killed 5-6 million Jews, 3 million Polish gentiles, Soviet POWs were treated monstrously as were Soviet civilians, and their planned victory would have included 30 million Soviets starved to death more or less on purpose, and that isn’t describing all the crimes committed by Germany in that time period. However, besides the Night of the Long Knives, for most of Nazi rule internal politics did not get bloody – and a couple hundred, tops, died then. This changed after the bomb plot in July of 1944, after which Hitler became quite paranoid and convinced his generals were plotting against him. Even after this, however, the absolute numbers of people killed and imprisoned were quite small (of course, throughout Nazi rule political opponents were imprisoned – mostly communists and social democrats – but they were the outgroup). Accusations of treason, hangings of deserters, etc became more and more common as the war was more and more clearly lost – although this might happen to any losing side. Main point is, though, the Nazi body count was vastly skewed towards people who were not only the outgroup, but couldn’t possibly have been the ingroup – even the number of German communists and social democrats killed or imprisoned was quite small (after all, in the last election held before the takeover was complete, the SPD and KPD together got almost a third of the vote, with over 12 million votes – it would have been impossible for the Nazis to rule and fight a war as they did without the vast, vast majority of those people falling in line behind Hitler). Instead, their victims were largely Jews and residents of lands to the east of Germany, all considered subhuman by the Nazis.

    Meanwhile, Stalin’s purges in the 1930s are considered a paradigmatic example of a state turning on its own people and, in many cases, its own government officials, generals, etc. Estimates vary, but the dead alone probably numbered in the mid six to low seven figures. There were, of course, prison camps. Entire ethnic groups deemed traitorous or potentially traitorous were deported from one part of the USSR to another. Changes of authority below Stalin were far more likely to involve someone getting shot or disappeared than was the case under Hitler. Had Stalin not died when he did, it is possible that another purge would have taken place, following accusations of conspiracy beginning with (mostly Jewish) doctors. The point here is that, inversely to the above, the victims were mostly people who either were part of the ingroup, or thought they were. Being a party member in good standing – part of the ingroup – was no protection, nor was being an ordinary citizen who kept their nose clean. Perhaps a good way to put it is that someone could be transformed by fiat from a member of the ingroup to a member of the outgroup, without necessarily doing anything themselves.

    OK, so, part of me thinking this is dicey and stupid is, whoa, I have a whole two historical examples. Great sample size, pack up, boys, job’s done.

    However, for a far less dramatic and large-scale example, and one that involves a whole lot less invocation of historical monsters – the phrase “left-wing circular firing squad” has been coined, and I can’t think of a right-wing equivalent today. It’s not a secret that left-wing activist circles have some pretty brutal infighting, or that somebody can go from well-thought-of to disliked based on a misstep or two. Of the two people I know well who are involved in left-wing activism, both of them describe a great deal of in-fighting. From the way they describe it, it seems to take the form of personal head-butting that gets transmutated into political disagreement, with actual denunciations taking place. The people who left-wing activists are most able to hurt are … other left-wing activists.

    Meanwhile, the friends of mine who are involved in right-wing politics do not describe anything like that. However, in North America, the right seems to do a fair bit more stuff nasty to small, weak, defenceless outgroups than the left, from where I’m standing at least. I can’t think of anything comparable to, say, passing laws binding people to bathrooms based on birth sex.

    Does this make any sense at all? I’m already thinking of various counterexamples. I don’t really know if I have something here or not.

    EDIT: Historical corrections also welcome. Particularly with regard to Stalin’s USSR, as I know a fair bit more about Nazi Germany than I do about the USSR at any point.

    • hoghoghoghoghog says:

      1) Aside from some Catholics, right-wingers explicitly think nationalism is a good thing. That might not make them more shitty to outgroups in general, but it does mean that their outgroup is very visible and consistent (namely other nations)

      2) Leftism just has a wider parameter space. Unlike the right they aspire to not care about tradition, and there are more social innovations that have not been tried than have been tried. So you would expect them to disagree among themselves more.

      3) But we should make sure not to be over-influenced by this particular moment in American politics. Whenever one side loses an election there is a struggle over which direction they should adapt in.

      • Anon. says:

        >Aside from some Catholics, right-wingers explicitly think nationalism is a good thing.

        AnCaps, libertarians and en arr ex come to mind as right-wingers who are not fond of nationalism…

        • Mary says:

          One also notes there are plenty of left-wingers who are fond of nationalism too.

        • hoghoghoghoghog says:

          Those groups famously don’t map very well onto the left/right axis (hence the term left-libertarian for people like Will Wilkinson). Besides, I don’t think people usually apply the stereotype that op is talking about to those groups.

        • Civilis says:

          Ultimately, ‘what unites the American right?’ is a vital question, because it gets us to ask, ‘what do Catholics, libertarians, neo-cons, and the other sundry members of the right have in common?’, which gets us to ask ‘what does it mean to be on the political right?’ (and for that matter, ‘what unites the left?’ and ‘what do the groups on the left have in common?’)

          The political spectrum (and where various groups fall) is meaningless without some definition of left and right that can be used to compare various groups. Ideally, this is a list of traits, such as policies or values, common to most members of either side.

          Ironically, I think the political right can be most accurately universally defined by a respect for tradition, although given the traditions involved will differ very heavily by the cultures involved; the traditions the modern American right is trying to maintain differ very heavily from the traditions the European right is railing against. It also suggests why various limits on immigration would be an issue for both the American and European right, as immigration poses a threat to tradition.

          That being said, it also suggests limitations on the usefulness of the left-right spectrum outside a political culture, as the traditions involved vary from culture to culture. The modern American right comes from a culture where respect for individual rights and individual sovereignty IS tradition; socialist authoritarianism is not traditional to American culture.

        • chriamon says:

          I like to take the terms “right wing” and “left wing” back to their etymological roots. Groups like AnCaps and Libertarians map to left vs right depending on your definitions of above. At the risk of making this a semantic argument, “The use of the expression la droite (the right) became prominent in France after the restoration of the monarchy in 1815, when it was applied to the Ultra-royalists.” Extrapolating from this, from my perspective, the key of the right vs left difference is support of hierarchy/tradition on the right and opposition to hierachy/tradition on the left. From this perspective, AnCaps don’t necessarilly map well. Some AnCaps argue that a natural hierarchy will form (based on capital) and become more robust given ideal AnCap conditions (The ‘An” side of AnCap being a “reset” if you will), while some argue that their positions resolve to ultimate equality/justice or whatever their personal ideology is.

          My expectation is that this perspective is also why it is argued that the Nazis are radical centrists, they establish a hierarchy of Nazis above everyone else, but then each Nazi is supposed to be equal.

    • suntzuanime says:

      Who is smaller, weaker, and more defenseless than a fetus? The left definitely does some nasty things to victims it considers subhuman as well.

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        They’re not really an outgroup in the sense of “group that helps define my group by contrast/opposition”. Just like whales are not an outgroup for the Japanese.

        • suntzuanime says:

          Tell Lena Dunham that.

          • BBA says:

            In the first episode of “Girls” Dunham called herself the voice of her generation. It was clearly meant as a joke, but nobody ever bothered explaining that to the blogosphere. Or to the DNC.

          • pseudon says:

            Wait, have the Japanese attacked Lena Dunham in any way?

        • Aanon Smith-Teller says:

          Aren’t they?

          I see a lot of articles talking about how great being child-free is, how annoying kids are and how much better we are without them, and how overpopulation is destroying the planet. And people go to extravagant lengths to call them dehumanizing terms.

          Also, I’m not sure, but I don’t think people who defend whales are treated with as much disdain in Japanese culture as people who defend fetuses are treated in leftist culture.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      Godwin’s law:

      As an offline discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Wollstonecraft approaches 1.

    • Mary says:

      people do argue that the Nazis were left-wing, but I think that’s BS;

      They’re National Socialists. Calling it BS is hardly an argument when it’s facially true.

      • suntzuanime says:

        it’s the affordable care act, anyone complaining about the premiums must just be whiners

        • Evan Þ says:

          Just like anyone arguing against the Patriot Act must be unpatriotic?

        • Mary says:

          ah, an actual argument! How wonderful! We progress!

          Let’s look at their platform, then. Which of these do you consider not left-wing?

          We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood.

          The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.

          Therefore we demand:

          That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

          Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

          We demand the nationalization of all trusts.

          We demand profit-sharing in large industries.

          We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.

          We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

          The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.

          • Evan Þ says:

            On the other hand, Hitler ignored a whole lot of that platform, and stomped down on the Nazis who wanted an economic “second revolution” after the party seized power. Even if the committee who wrote that platform was leftist – which I agree with – the Nazis in practice still could be rightist.

          • Mary says:

            Lenin implemented the New Economic Plan. did that make him a right winger?

          • cassander says:

            @Evan Þ

            He ignored that platform in favor of gearing up for his giant race war, because he thought he had to win that to implement the other vision. But when you look at the many and various postwar plans, none are far from that vision. Hitler purged the strasserites because he wanted to be in control, not because he really disagreed with them on economics.

          • Evan Þ says:

            @cassander, when did Hitler plan to (say) abolish unearned income or confiscate all war profits? I’ve never heard of any plans for either.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            The thing is, if the Nazis had done this stuff and nothing else, they would count as Left and Hitler would be as beloved today as Roosevelt. The “national” part is the right wing part, the part that was implemented, and the part that gives the Nazis their particular rhetorical usefulness.

            (Except for paragraph 4, that is like the opposite of the leftist goal. It just sounds leftist cus it has the word ‘community’ in it.)

          • Civilis says:

            Except for paragraph 4, that is like the opposite of the leftist goal. It just sounds leftist cus it has the word ‘community’ in it.

            Paragraph 4: The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.

            It may not be compatible with the modern Western democratic left, but is it any different than what you’d find in any of the other self-described Socialist states of the early and mid 20th century (such as the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, or North Korea)? Many of those had some kind of forced labor programs.

            The problem with ‘the Nazis were nationalist, that makes them right-wing’ is that starting with Stalin, a lot of the self-described communist states were just as nationalist. You can see it very heavily in the ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’ of China and in the Juche of North Korea.

      • dndnrsn says:

        @Mary:

        The Nazi program prior to getting in power is “whatever will get people to vote for us”. Hitler was very good at adjusting his rhetoric depending who he was giving a speech to. Example: Albert Speer, prior to his joining the party, went to a Hitler speech expecting a ranting demagogue in uniform, and was surprised when he got (what he said was a – Speer was not a trustworthy witness) a fairly calm speech, with no reference to the Jews or anything, by a guy in a suit.

        The Nazis, prior to getting into power, played up the socialist side when appealing to the lower and lower middle classes, played up the anti-Semitism when appealing to anti-Semites, played up the notion that Germany had been stabbed in the back at home instead of defeated on the field of battle when appealing to embittered former soldiers, and played up the anti-Communism when appealing to the affluent classes.

        Hitler got into power in large part because the affluent classes and the aristocratic classes, heavily conservative, believed that he was a bulwark against the left they could use and then discard. They were wrong. If the Nazis had actually been socialists, it is highly unlikely that they would have been viewed as a bulwark against socialism.

        Once in power, the Nazis were flying by the seat of their pants. They didn’t nationalize all industries, they did not confiscate investment income, they did not confiscate war profits…

        By way of analogy: is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea democratic?

        • cassander says:

          Hitler was seen as a bulwark against revolutionary socialism, as in putting kulaks up against the wall and shooting them. This was real fear at the time because there had been that sort of revolution in 1918. Hitler’s socialism was trying to carve out the same political space as Bismarck’s.

        • Jaskologist says:

          You say the Nazis didn’t nationalize all industries. Nationalizing any seems pretty socialist to me.

          I’d put the test this way: did they move Germany towards more or less socialism economically? (I don’t know the answer.)

        • dndnrsn says:

          The economy in Nazi Germany was like social democracy, but paid for through plunder. If you were a German of the right racial stock, you could get a lot of bennies, based on theft and slave labour. Germans on the home front didn’t feel the material pinch very much until early 1944, by some accounts.

          A war footing usually necessitates far tighter state control over industry than is the case in peacetime. To some extent, pre-war Nazi economic policy can be seen as going on a war footing without a war. Can Churchill be considered a socialist?

          • Evan Þ says:

            Well, Churchill brought Attlee into his cabinet and let him decide a lot of domestic policy, so if you look only at results…

      • tscharf says:

        Arguing who are more Nazi like, the left or right, is bound to be a very fruitful and engaging discussion.

        • ChetC3 says:

          That’s too bad. “My outgroup: threat or menace?” is the commentariat’s favorite topic of discussion.

    • Silder says:

      The Left, generally speaking, is a group of people who agree on an idea that justifies them seizing power. When they win, they don’t go about implementing the idea in any realistic or successful way because they’re mostly complaining about reality*. Complaining about reality is great in one sense because you’ll never run out of things to complain about but once you seize power, there’s nothing you can do to change it. Once power is seized, leftist turn on each other because they have no traditional structure or hierarchy that allows people to coexist**. Since they’re all in it for the power, they start murdering each other in the name of whatever leftist cause they organized under – Jim’s theory of the leftist singularity.

      The right either opposes the left or is about tradition – tradition works quite well. Opposing the left can look quite bad because of the problem of identifying the left.

      * As far as I can tell, the left consists of factions that either object to: 1) racial differences 2) differences between the sexes 3) the laws of economics – mostly that wages will equal marginal productivity in the long run but not limited to that. They also object to supply and demand in housing markets. The one major missing item from my list is the environmentalist left. The environmentalist left isn’t fundamentally opposed to reality but has no end goal so is perfect for leftism – can always demand less and less human impact on the Earth because people breathe.

      ** Existing structures and hierarchies, whatever else you might think about them, have the virtue of existing – which means they don’t totally collapse your society. There’s no such guarantee with the year zero program of rewriting whatever.

      • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

        That’s how you tell the Left apart from all those other political groups, who don’t agree on an idea that justifies them seizing [sic] power.

        • Silder says:

          Well yeah.

          If your revolutionary banner is “overthrow the system for x” then you’re likely on the left.

          If your revolutionary banner is “our leader is the rightful king and the current king is a usurper” you’re likely on the right.

          There’s a clear divide between the two.

          If your banner is “oust the leadership because they’re a foreign occupier (or they side with foreigners)” then you could be on the left or right.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            To justify your original stink bomb, the converse would have to be true: “If you’re on the left, you’ve likely got ‘overthrow the system for x’ for your revolutionary banner.” Which it isn’t, which is why they spend their time trying to win elections instead of trying to seize power.

          • Silder says:

            Cerebral Paul Z.

            The American context is a bit different. The original question was “why does the left turn on each other when the right mostly doesn’t?” and my explanation was suited to that context.

            A different context where the left hasn’t turned on each other doesn’t contradict my point. The American left mostly doesn’t advocate for revolutionary structural change and rightist critiques of the American / Anglo left say that the left advocates for stealthy revolutionary structural change in the guise of keeping the system intact.

            Maybe take it up with the questioner as to why the American / Anglo left hasn’t turned into a circular firing squad.

          • Jiro says:

            I think it’s fair to say that what the left advocates in America is a lot closer to revolutionary structural change than what the right advocates, even if purist leftists will say that it isn’t revolutionary enough to count.

            Also, leftist tactics in the US harken back to people who did want revolutionary structural change, and their tactics can still be the type of tactics most suited for that even if their goals no longer are.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            @Jiro: which people and which tactics? Asking honestly here.

          • TenMinute says:

            The ones calling for revolutionary structural changes and revolutions in every part of society?
            You can see in this very thread people calling for “fundamental shifts” in everything from gender to working for a living.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            @ TenMinute:

            I searched this page for the word ‘revolution’ and was unable to find anyone advocating for one. The phrase “fundamental shifts” only appears in your own comment, but in any case I want to focus on violent revolution rather than fundamental shifts.

            You are also not literally answering my question, unless you are saying “both the modern left and revolutionary leftist movements have used the tactic of calling for things.” This is not just hair-splitting: I read Jiro’s second paragraph as saying “by their tactics shall ye know them, no matter what they claim their goals to be” so the distinction between goals and tactics is important here.

          • Jiro says:

            @Jiro: which people and which tactics? Asking honestly here.

            SJWs especially. The public shaming, the no-platforming, the boycotts and attempts to get people fired from their jobs, among others.

      • Earthly Knight says:

        When they win, they don’t go about implementing the idea in any realistic or successful way because they’re mostly complaining about reality*.

        The reason the right doesn’t do more complaining about reality is because the right, generally speaking, has grown too psychotic to know what reality is anymore:

        http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2016/05/gop-quickly-unifies-around-trump-clinton-still-has-modest-lead.html

        –65% of Trump supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim (only 13% think he’s Christian)
        –59% of Trump supporters believe that Obama was not born in the United States (only 23% think he was)

        https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/27/belief-conspiracies-largely-depends-political-iden/

        –62% of Trump voters believe that millions of illegal votes were cast in the election
        –46% of Trump voters buy into the Pizzagate conspiracy theory

        It’s sad, I used to think that the right was something more than a festering mass of delusions. Maybe I was always imagining that, though.

        • Evan Þ says:

          only 13% think he’s Christian

          As someone who’d be part of that 87% if asked that question, let me clarify: I agree that Obama claims to be Christian, and that he does not practice any other religion. Perhaps he even believes those claims himself. I do not, however, think he has a real relationship with Jesus Christ.

          The utility of this definition in the real world can, of course, be debated – especially when 65% of Trump voters apparently have a different understanding of how Obama is not a Christian…

          • Earthly Knight says:

            I do not, however, think he has a real relationship with Jesus Christ.

            I don’t think anyone has a real relationship with Jesus Christ, does that mean I should say that no one is a Christian? Obama is clearly a Christian by any normal standard, even if you disagree with him on some finer points of faith.

          • Obama is clearly a Christian by any normal standard

            It’s clear that he claims to be a Christian.

            Being viewed as a Christian is pretty clearly a positive for almost all American politicians, so the fact that one claims to be Christian is not strong evidence that he is.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            Yeah, I never got that aspect of the argument. I guess you can say he became a devout Christian before he went into politics (did he? that’s worth looking into), but once he got into politics? If you’re at all serious about it, you are going to become a Christian. Personally, I just assume Obama’s generalised progressivism leads him to sympathise with Muslims irrationally, as progressives are wont to do. “All those other dumb people are incapable of this, only I can truly understand Islam” is I think the rationale behind this. Though that could be projection.

            -P.S. given his reverend’s extreme political views, it might not be a function of signaling – if I was going to pick my religious habits to match my ambitions, I wouldn’t touch someone that radioactive. Then again, maybe it helped him in early Chicago politics? This line of argument really could use some more background information, too bad the conservative press never took their arguments seriously enough to provide it.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            “I do not, however, think he [Obama] has a real relationship with Jesus Christ.”

            So far as I know, only some Christians think of that as an essential part of being Christian.

          • Anonymous says:

            “I do not, however, think he [Obama] has a real relationship with Jesus Christ.”

            So far as I know, only some Christians think of that as an essential part of being Christian.

            It sounds Protestant to me. I’ve never heard it from anyone but Chick-brand heretics. Given that Obama claims to be a Protestant of some variety, it is relevant.

          • Aapje says:

            I know of at least 2 atheist Protestant ministers, here is one of them.

          • Anonymous says:

            Protestant, atheist and a woman too. Man, these folks don’t go light on the heresy.

        • Evan Þ says:

          For a less-personal response…

          Consider that the media, in general, has a clear liberal bias – or, at least, is perceived that way in conservative circles. It’s covered up or minimized stories before, or portrayed them in twisted ways. So, people might conclude, why mightn’t it be doing this with other things?

          Throw into this pot how Obama really did act suspiciously when he refused to release his birth certificate for several years, as we’ve discussed in other open threads before…

          Of course, the particular ideas you mention at the very least have near-zero evidence for them. But few people know how to, or have the time to, do a real investigation on their own. Without any media they trust, is it really a surprise they’d land in this boat?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Throw into this pot how Obama really did act suspiciously when he refused to release his birth certificate for several years, as we’ve discussed in other open threads before…

            Obama released his birth certificate in 2008. The belief that he “act[ed] suspiciously” is part of the delusion.

            Without any media they trust, is it really a surprise they’d land in this boat?

            Conservatives do trust some media– it is not as though each Trump supporter independently arrived at the conclusion that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim. The problem is that most conservatives are profoundly incompetent at determining which media outlets are reliable and which not, so they trust worldnetdaily or whomever over the New York Times. Those complaining about the “liberal media” are not, in general, skeptical or critical, they are gullible fools who turn to trashy tabloids because they are angry that most mainstream media organizations won’t tell them the lies they want to hear.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            If your argument contains the premise that the New York Times is reliable, then it needs revising.

            Most outlets considered “reliable” long ago decided to bias themselves. Then, of course, the argument is “there’s no bias, all the reliable people just agree with us!”. Until, as we saw recently, the bias starts leading to fatal errors. So conservatives are stuck between a rock and a hard place…but when it comes to the media, so are we all. Maybe we always were.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            @ anonEEmous: as far as I’m aware the NYT is reliable so long as you skip the opinion pages and don’t assume it’s telling you everything. Like if it says someone was murdered then yeah, they probably were. It does weird stuff like not using the word ‘torture’ for torture, but it’s still at least technically accurate.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            As I recall, there have been some recent and seriously questionable pieces. Let’s kick it off with this:

            http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2015/07/25/nail-salons-new-york-times-got-wrong/

            Feel free to dig as deep into this topic as you want, there’s a lot there.

            Then you’ve got this piece

            https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/us/politics/donald-trump-women.html?_r=0

            which was not only a Trump hitpiece, but actually inspired one of the women quoted in the article, in fact one of the more important pieces of the article period, to step in

            http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/05/16/new-york-times-trump-women-rowanne-brewer-lane/84435570/

            “The New York Times told us several times that they would make sure my story that I was telling came across, they promised several times that they would do it accurately, they told me several times and my manager several times that it would not be a hit piece and that my story would come across the way that I was telling it and honestly and it absolutely was not,” Brewer Lane said. “They did take quotes from what I said and they put a negative connotation on it. They spun it to where it appeared negative. I did not have a negative experience with Donald Trump.”

            Brewer Lane dated Trump and said that the presumptive Republican nominee “never made me feel like I was being demeaned in any way, he never offended me in any way.”

            “Obviously they feel like they need to do something to make him look bad or go along with their article,” Brewer Lane said.

            And we’re just talking about outright falsehoods, not even bias – which Liz Spayd, public editor to the NYT, has even acknowledged.

            http://hotair.com/archives/2016/12/06/ny-times-public-editor-under-fire-for-criticizing-the-papers-liberal-bias/

            you can also read any of her editorials on the subject – I think she kind of stops short from admitting it, but it’s pretty clear what’s going on here.

            Or we could talk about this:

            “Historically, the Los Angeles Times, where I worked twice, for instance, was a reporter-driven, bottom-up newspaper. Most editors wanted to know, every day, before the first morning meeting: “What are you hearing? What have you got?”

            It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.”

            And this is just the stuff I know about.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Here’s the NYT’s defense of its story on the nail salons:

            http://www.nytco.com/rebuttal-to-the-nybrs-article-on-nyt-nail-salon-series/

            It looks to me like the Times has the better of it.

            Brewer Lane seems to be complaining that, even though the New York Times got every factual detail of her account right and quoted her correctly, they portrayed her experience with Trump in a way that sounds demeaning and negative, which, she believes, it was not.

            Do you really want to rest your case against the Times on this? Given that we now know that Trump is a sexual predator, the Times’s reporting on Brewer seems awfully prescient. It is certainly possible that Trump’s behavior towards Brewer was demeaning, even if she does not think it was.

            Look at what you are doing here: you distrust the New York Times, but don’t exhibit the slightest bit of doubt or skepticism when it comes to criticisms of the New York Times. This is how the delusion takes hold.

          • Jiro says:

            Here’s the NYT’s defense of its story on the nail salons:

            They didn’t even bother addressing the point that the Times equated undocumented and unlicensed workers to the industry. They also didn’t bother addressing the point that the Times published a contradictory article elsewhere, or that the low pay was a temporary situation and that the woman earned much more a few months later.

            It is certainly possible that Trump’s behavior towards Brewer was demeaning, even if she does not think it was.

            That makes “this was demeaning” unfalsifiable, as well as denying the agency of the woman involved.

            Given that we now know that Trump is a sexual predator,

            I think you should learn about Gish gallops. That list is too long to rebut in detail, trying to make up for poor quality claims with quantity.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            That makes “this was demeaning” unfalsifiable, as well as denying the agency of the woman involved.

            I don’t see why. If Trump walks up to a total stranger and gropes her, as he often does, what he’s done is demeaning even if the victim does not believe that it is. I do not think that whether behavior counts as demeaning or not depends on the mental states of the person being demeaned.

            That list is too long to rebut in detail, trying to make up for poor quality claims with quantity.

            We’ve been over this. A dozen women accusing Trump of non-consensual kissing or groping is strong evidence that Trump is, indeed, a sexual predator. This is true no matter what you think a gish gallop is.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “Here’s the NYT’s defense of its story on the nail salons:

            http://www.nytco.com/rebuttal-to-the-nybrs-article-on-nyt-nail-salon-series/

            It looks to me like the Times has the better of it.”

            ctrl+f “Tips”: 0 results

            https://reason.com/blog/2015/10/27/new-york-times-nail-salon-unvarnished

            ctrl+F “Tips”: 11 results

            “Also, Nir’s report doesn’t discuss gratuities. In fact, nowhere does the Times coverage attempt to gauge average daily tips in the industry or what workers actually take home in total compensation.

            This is like writing a 7,000-word piece on what waiters make for a living but focusing only on base compensation. “There should have been several paragraphs on the subject,” says Aiming Feng, the accountant and business consultant who counts about 50 nail salons as clients. (Feng also volunteers once a week at once a week at the Lin Sing Association, a social service organization in Manhattan’s Chinatown, where he helps manicurists with legal and tax issues.)”

            The NYT hasn’t even begun to address the most obvious criticism, probably because they can’t. Better to do as all good journalists and ignore it in hopes it goes away. Hell, it’s what I’d do, were I them.

            Brewer Lane seems to be complaining that, even though the New York Times got every factual detail of her account right and quoted her correctly, they portrayed her experience with Trump in a way that sounds demeaning and negative, which, she believes, it was not.

            “But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew.”

            They went far beyond “portrayal”. And there is absolutely no reason for you to say that Brewer Lane “believes” it was not, because those words are entirely subjective, meaning that the belief is the thing. In other words, you’re doing the exact same thing the Times was doing; you presuppose the feelings of others to the point that you manage to contradict their lived experience. Don’t you think that’s a serious, serious problem for a journalist? Can you really just play it off like that, especially when it happens to align with a goal many believe the NYT to have, namely bashing Donald Trump?

            Apparently you think that groping is always demeaning, which really just illustrates the point; some enjoy being “demeaned”. You’d prefer to render out-of-bounds even groping these people, because you personally think they’re wrong…on a matter of personal taste.

            “Do you really want to rest your case against the Times on this? Given that we now know that Trump is a sexual predator, the Times’s reporting on Brewer seems awfully prescient. It is certainly possible that Trump’s behavior towards Brewer was demeaning, even if she does not think it was.”

            I hadn’t realised that accusations had become proof.

            Seriously, your harping on this topic has really lowered my opinion of you. Make a fool of yourself if you want, but that IS what you are doing.

            “Look at what you are doing here: you distrust the New York Times, but don’t exhibit the slightest bit of doubt or skepticism when it comes to criticisms of the New York Times. This is how the delusion takes hold.”

            And yet upon further inspection, the criticisms of the New York Times remain as valid as ever.

            You see, Earthly Knight, I don’t doubt or skepticise. Instead, I read one side, and I read the other. The New York Times has no defense for these criticisms; I can tell, because despite said criticisms being leveled by prominent outlets which the New York Times could not possibly have missed, they have totally failed to answer the key points – at best, they pretend that said key points don’t exist at all. Maybe you should try doing the same thing; though I suppose implying all of your opponents are delusional is much in the same vein of argument. Good day, sir.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            The NYT hasn’t even begun to address the most obvious criticism, probably because they can’t.

            The Reason article concedes that many starting nail salon workers– “apprentices”– are paid nothing. This is illegal no matter what they earn in tips.

            Apparently you think that groping is always demeaning, which really just illustrates the point; some enjoy being “demeaned”. You’d prefer to render out-of-bounds even groping these people, because you personally think they’re wrong…on a matter of personal taste.

            Please, tell me more about how it’s okay to walk up to strangers and grope them if they turn out not to object to it.

            I hadn’t realised that accusations had become proof.

            Generally, when a dozen people testify that someone committed a crime, most people take this to be strong evidence that the person is guilty. Do you think that we can never be confident that someone is guilty of a crime solely on the basis of the testimony?

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “The Reason article concedes that many starting nail salon workers– “apprentices”– are paid nothing. This is illegal no matter what they earn in tips.”

            Are we expected to believe that the key issue here was violation of city statutes rather then abuse of nail salon workers? Do you really think anyone would care if nail salon workers make above minimum wage, but are technically violating the law by doing so? Or was this supposed to be an expose of New York’s failure to accommodate tips-based reimbursement? No matter what the case, the fact that they don’t mention tips in either the original piece, and the rebuttal to the rebuttal, is pretty clear evidence that they don’t want to touch that issue with a ten-foot pole. And seriously, if you have any reservations about this “expose” exposing anything other than the NYT’s incompetence and bias, read the Reason article I linked. I’ll wait.

            “Please, tell me more about how it’s okay to walk up to strangers and grope them if they turn out not to object to it.”

            Actually, my argument was that it was not necessarily demeaning; to try and explain that actually, just because you think something is demeaning, doesn’t mean someone – like, say, Rowanne Brewer Lane – might not disagree with you entirely. Unfortunately, this means that you’re right back where you started – disrespecting the lived experiences of women to try and make a cheap political point. Sad!

            “Generally, when a dozen people testify that someone committed a crime, most people take this to be strong evidence that the person is guilty. Do you think that we can never be confident that someone is guilty of a crime solely on the basis of the testimony?”

            That’s because it’s usually the same crime. It’s a neat trick, to lump in those two situations on the basis that “sexual assault” is the crime accused. But that’s not how it works, sorry to say D:

          • Earthly Knight says:

            No matter what the case, the fact that they don’t mention tips in either the original piece,

            It’s funny that you say that. Here’s the original article:

            “She would work for no wages, subsisting on meager tips, until her boss decided she was skillful enough to merit a wage.”

            “Workers endure all manner of humiliation, including having their tips docked as punishment for minor transgressions, constant video monitoring by owners, even physical abuse.”

            “Employers in New York are permitted to pay such workers slightly less than the state’s $8.75 minimum hourly wage, based on a complex calculation of how much a worker is making in tips. But interviews with scores of workers revealed rates of pay so low that the so-called tip calculation is virtually meaningless. None reported receiving supplemental pay from their bosses, as is legally required when their day’s tips fall short of the minimum wage.”

            Tips or wages are often skimmed or never delivered, or deducted as punishment for things like spilled bottles of polish.”

            “Non-Korean manicurists are often forced into less desirable jobs in the boroughs outside Manhattan or even farther out from the city, where customers are typically fewer and tips often paltry.”

            “Her sole income was a few dollars a day in tips, but she was meticulous, tabulating each banana and even her first ice cream from a chiming truck.”

            Have you considered that it is you, and not the New York Times, who is actually unreliable here?

            Actually, my argument was that it was not necessarily demeaning;

            That’s how it started! But then you went too far and said: “You’d prefer to render out-of-bounds even groping these people, because you personally think they’re wrong…on a matter of personal taste.”

            I would, indeed, prefer to render groping strangers “out-of-bounds” even in the unlikely event that the stranger happens to enjoy it. I want to get you on record on this: do you think it is morally permissible to walk up to strangers and grope them if the stranger turns out to be okay with it?

            That’s because it’s usually the same crime. It’s a neat trick, to lump in those two situations on the basis that “sexual assault” is the crime accused.

            Can you explain why you think that someone who is accused of twelve crimes by twelve eyewitnesses is substantially less likely to be guilty than someone who is accused of one crime by twelve eyewitnesses? I do not think most people would find the distinction important, but it seems like your defense of Trump hinges on it.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            http://www.cjr.org/investigation/new_york_times_nail_salon_investigation.php

            Here’s the Columbia Journalism Review’s take on the nail salon imbroglio. It criticizes the Reason piece and suggests that the conclusions in the original Times expose were overstated but basically accurate.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “It’s funny that you say that. Here’s the original article:”

            OK, I stand corrected. Instead, they simply write sentences like this:

            “The New York Times interviewed more than 150 nail salon workers and owners, in four languages, and found that a vast majority of workers are paid below minimum wage; sometimes they are not even paid.”

            without attempting to calculate if those workers have, in fact, been paid above the minimum wage in tips.

            “She would work for no wages, subsisting on meager tips, until her boss decided she was skillful enough to merit a wage.”

            Which discusses a case of an apprenticeship, who as the Reason article explains never worked with any actual customers. But I’m willing to admit that, in that case, the tips would be meager.

            “Workers endure all manner of humiliation, including having their tips docked as punishment for minor transgressions, constant video monitoring by owners, even physical abuse.”

            So she’s willing to mention tips being taken away, but not how large these tips are. Point : stands.

            “Employers in New York are permitted to pay such workers slightly less than the state’s $8.75 minimum hourly wage, based on a complex calculation of how much a worker is making in tips. But interviews with scores of workers revealed rates of pay so low that the so-called tip calculation is virtually meaningless. None reported receiving supplemental pay from their bosses, as is legally required when their day’s tips fall short of the minimum wage.”

            Finally, she approaches the issue of how large tips are, only to decide that actually, making that calculation is “virtually meaningless”.

            “Tips or wages are often skimmed or never delivered, or deducted as punishment for things like spilled bottles of polish.”

            Again: how large are they?

            “Non-Korean manicurists are often forced into less desirable jobs in the boroughs outside Manhattan or even farther out from the city, where customers are typically fewer and tips often paltry.”

            How paltry?

            “Her sole income was a few dollars a day in tips, but she was meticulous, tabulating each banana and even her first ice cream from a chiming truck.”

            Uh, this isn’t even about nails. Did you read any of this, or just c/p every sentence with the word “tips” in it?

            “That’s how it started! But then you went too far and said: “You’d prefer to render out-of-bounds even groping these people, because you personally think they’re wrong…on a matter of personal taste.””

            “I would, indeed, prefer to render groping strangers “out-of-bounds” even in the unlikely event that the stranger happens to enjoy it. I want to get you on record on this: do you think it is morally permissible to walk up to strangers and grope them if the stranger turns out to be okay with it?”

            I was discussing the idea that a non-stranger might enjoy it, because I had first assumed we were talking about the actual case in question. But yes, I am perfectly willing to disavow groping of strangers, which I now see you brought up for…questionable reasons. The next four years are going to be fun ones for you, I can already tell…

            “Can you explain why you think that someone who is accused of twelve crimes by twelve eyewitnesses is substantially less likely to be guilty than someone who is accused of one crime by twelve eyewitnesses? I do not think most people would find the distinction important, but it seems like your defense of Trump hinges on it.”

            Do you actually not understand how that works? It’s a pretty basic function of statistics, you know.

            “http://www.cjr.org/investigation/new_york_times_nail_salon_investigation.php

            Here’s the Columbia Journalism Review’s take on the nail salon imbroglio. It criticizes the Reason piece and suggests that the conclusions in the original Times expose were overstated but basically accurate.”

            I read that, ctrl+F for “tips” turned up zero results, and I decided not to waste my time even bringing it up. I mean, look at this:

            “After hearing Cuomo on TV, Carmen saw changes at her current salon. Her pay increased from $60 for a 10-hour day to $75 for an eight-hour one.”

            But how much was she being paid in tips? Who knows? Is she making less now that she’s working 8 hours and not 10, due to tips? Who knows? Why ask? It’s so much easier to just leave that out.

            Moreover, the accusation that Reason’s piece hinges on the testimony of interested experts seems weak. Many of the refutations of the Times’ claims are accompanied by uninterested participants or rock-solid reasoning as to why the original claim made no sense.

            “Have you considered that it is you, and not the New York Times, who is actually unreliable here?”

            Absolutely! But the available evidence has led me to discard that hypothesis.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Your original complaint was that the Times expose failed even to discuss tips. If true, this would be a serious oversight, but you concede now that you were mistaken. In fact, the Times article reported in detail on numerous salon workers who were illegally underpaid by their owners, many of them taking home earnings below the minimum wage even when tips are included.

            Your new complaint is that the Times journalist failed to collect systematic data on worker’s net take home pay, i.e. that the journalist failed to carry out a small-scale study on salon worker’s wages. This is correct, but it is not a serious objection, because the author of the article is an investigative journalist, not a social scientist, and undoubtedly lacks the resources to conduct the kind of study you envision. It also does nothing to support your original charge the New York Times is unreliable. Hence, your case against the New York Times fails.

            But yes, I am perfectly willing to disavow groping of strangers, which I now see you brought up for…questionable reasons.

            Okay, so you do think that groping strangers is wrong in all circumstances. Do you think it is also demeaning under all circumstances?

            Do you actually not understand how that works? It’s a pretty basic function of statistics, you know.

            You’ve gotten lots of pretty basic things wrong already, so I’m not going to take your word for it.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “Your original complaint was that the Times expose failed even to discuss tips. If true, this would be a serious oversight, but you concede now that you were mistaken. In fact, the Times article reported in detail on numerous salon workers who were illegally underpaid by their owners, many of them taking home earnings below the minimum wage even when tips are included.”

            The issue here being that the Times only discusses tips when talking about owner abuses. When discussing base compensation, one of the key parts of the article, the writer actually comes out and says “it’s not even worth doing so I’m not going to”, all while asserting that the tips didn’t make up for the base pay. How would she know? Well, apparently she had spreadsheets on the 100 or so workers she interviewed with the wage data; when asked by the writer of the Reason article, she refused to supply said spreadsheets. Hmm…

            “Your new complaint is that the Times journalist failed to collect systematic data on worker’s net take home pay, i.e. that the journalist failed to carry out a small-scale study on salon worker’s wages. This is correct, but it is not a serious objection, because the author of the article is an investigative journalist, not a social scientist, and undoubtedly lacks the resources to conduct the kind of study you envision. It also does nothing to support your original charge the New York Times is unreliable. Hence, your case against the New York Times fails.”

            No, my complaint is that she ran an expose on workers being mistreated, and argued that they were being underpaid, while totally failing to discuss a serious source of income. There are many other things wrong with the piece as well, as the Reason article explains, but I doubt you’ll actually engage with that piece – if anything, it’s just there for third parties to see what’s wrong with the New York Times.

            “Okay, so you do think that groping strangers is wrong in all circumstances. Do you think it is also demeaning under all circumstances?”

            It’s a Schrodinger’s box; the conduct may reflect poorly of you in all cases, but whether or not something is demeaning can only be determined by the person being “demeaned”. You can argue that it’s conduct meant to be demeaning and that the actor is almost certainly aware of this, or something along those lines. But the receiver of the act is the only one with any right to judge.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            No, my complaint is that she ran an expose on workers being mistreated, and argued that they were being underpaid, while totally failing to discuss a serious source of income.

            I do not understand why you are still saying this when you have already conceded that it is false. The article discussed tips extensively, for instance:

            Employers in New York are permitted to pay such workers slightly less than the state’s $8.75 minimum hourly wage, based on a complex calculation of how much a worker is making in tips. But interviews with scores of workers revealed rates of pay so low that the so-called tip calculation is virtually meaningless. None reported receiving supplemental pay from their bosses, as is legally required when their day’s tips fall short of the minimum wage.”

            As far as I can tell, your only real objection here is that the author did not systematically collect data on wages and present summary statistics. But your charge was that the Times was unreliable, not that its stories lacked scientific rigor, which should come as no surprise, it being a newspaper and all.

            But the receiver of the act is the only one with any right to judge.

            I see. So in your view, M demeans N only if N believes M’s conduct to be demeaning?

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “I do not understand why you are still saying this when you have already conceded that it is false. The article discussed tips extensively, for instance:”

            Employers in New York are permitted to pay such workers slightly less than the state’s $8.75 minimum hourly wage, based on a complex calculation of how much a worker is making in tips. But interviews with scores of workers revealed rates of pay so low that the so-called tip calculation is virtually meaningless. None reported receiving supplemental pay from their bosses, as is legally required when their day’s tips fall short of the minimum wage.”

            let’s run that back again

            “But interviews with scores of workers revealed rates of pay so low that the so-called tip calculation is virtually meaningless.”

            Or in other words, she’s not even going to check if that’s…actually true or not. She’s certainly not laid out any individual examples of such, and when asked specifically for what data she did have confirming any of this, she refused to give it. In the rest of the article, she doesn’t bring up tips as compensation, while citing many different types of jobs with many differing types of compensation. Throughout the article, she goes on to do this constantly. So…yes, this is a big issue. As noted in the Reason article, sometimes tips are as much or more than base compensation, meaning that they could easily outpace minimum wage.

            by the way:

            “To gauge the average pay for manicurists, Nir might have turned first to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The agency reported that in 2014, manicurists in New York’s metropolitan area earned an average hourly wage of $9.19 per hour. It also reports an annual mean wage of $19,110.”

            Given that said author was also apparently willing to misquote both written advertisements, and quite likely certain people as well…yeah, not looking very good on her front. Well, them’s the breaks when you’re an unreliable organization.

            “As far as I can tell, your only real objection here is that the author did not systematically collect data on wages and present summary statistics. But your charge was that the Times was unreliable, not that its stories lacked scientific rigor, which should come as no surprise, it being a newspaper and all.”

            No, the objection is that an entirely relevant point is left almost completely un-discussed, except in one lone paragraph where the author argues that the calculations are almost meaningless. This, despite the fact that many workers and those with knowledge in the field disagree. Why can’t she at least come up with a couple examples of women, take their base pay and tip pay, and tell us what it is?

            “I see. So in your view, M demeans N only if N believes M’s conduct to be demeaning?”

            Yes. You may argue that his intent is to demean N, and be offended by that, and think him to be a bad person, and so on and so forth. But demeaning is in the eye of the receiver.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Given that said author was also apparently willing to misquote both written advertisements, and quite likely certain people as well…yeah, not looking very good on her front. Well, them’s the breaks when you’re an unreliable organization.

            Rather, some of her former interview subjects claim she misquoted them. It is possible she did, but it is also possible that they are lying due to the enormous amount of bad publicity they received in the wake of the article’s publication, or, in the case of workers, because their bosses pressured them to lie.

            Why can’t she at least come up with a couple examples of women, take their base pay and tip pay, and tell us what it is?

            So your new objection is that she only gave qualitative assessments of worker’s pay– “meager,” “paltry,” “a few dollars a day”– when she should have given precise dollar figures? And this is what shows that the New York Times is unreliable?

            Yes. You may argue that his intent is to demean N, and be offended by that, and think him to be a bad person, and so on and so forth. But demeaning is in the eye of the receiver.

            Suppose that Sally’s “friend” Frank takes surreptitious photos of her while she is in the bathroom, which he later posts to the internet. She does not believe that Frank has demeaned her, because she knows nothing about what he’s done. Can I take it that you think Frank’s actions are in no way demeaning?

            Or, suppose that Mark, who is not very bright, tries to tell a joke in front of a circle of his acquaintances, but botches the delivery rather badly. His acquaintances all start laughing at his ineptitude, but he falsely believes they are laughing with him, not at him. In your view, Mark is also not being demeaned?

            Or, suppose that when Mary’s partner is angry he emotionally abuses her, calling her a bitch and a whore and a pig and so on, but Mary interprets his behavior as a sign of how much he loves her and fears losing her. In your opinion, Mary, too, is not being demeaned?

          • AnonEEmous says:

            Looks like this argument is almost over. Good thing too – this thread’s pretty old by now.

            “Rather, some of her former interview subjects claim she misquoted them. It is possible she did, but it is also possible that they are lying due to the enormous amount of bad publicity they received in the wake of the article’s publication, or, in the case of workers, because their bosses pressured them to lie.”

            The problem is that, just to take one case, a former worker also said that she was misquoted. Additionally, as pointed out, one of the big guys with an incentive to lie, the director of a nail salon association, also had no reason to insult his own membership to begin with.

            “So your new objection is that she only gave qualitative assessments of worker’s pay– “meager,” “paltry,” “a few dollars a day”– when she should have given precise dollar figures? And this is what shows that the New York Times is unreliable?”

            No, it’s that she only gave those assessments in a couple of instances, while continually discussing different wages – and in most cases, failing to cite tips. Had she cited tips, most people would have noticed that, actually, most people in the industry were being paid at or above minimum wage, and then she wouldn’t really have much a story. Sad!

            “Suppose that Sally’s “friend” Frank takes surreptitious photos of her while she is in the bathroom, which he later posts to the internet. She does not believe that Frank has demeaned her, because she knows nothing about what he’s done. Can I take it that you think Frank’s actions are in no way demeaning?”

            Yes, a lack of knowledge may lead to an awkward situation where, if someone had the knowledge, they would feel demeaned. However, another sly feminist trick is to assume lack of knowledge, when in reality the knowledge is had, or the situation is not as they had assumed, and the person is fine with it. If you want to go back to discussing the specific situation – you know, where the person “demeaned” explained explicitly that she hadn’t been demeaned – then be my absolute guest. But I think doing so just exposes the problem – she felt very strongly that nothing demeaning was going on, but feminists believed that there was, because they think they have insight into the male psyche, “male gaze”, and other such. So they believed that she was being demeaned without knowing it, and she understood that she wasn’t. Or maybe we should say she believed she wasn’t, because who can ever really know what’s going on in the other person’s mind? However, absent some serious, rock-hard proof of what’s going on in someone else’s mind, speculating based on your own personal beliefs about gender relations is a sure way to get people to consider you…shall we say, unreliable?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Additionally, as pointed out, one of the big guys with an incentive to lie, the director of a nail salon association, also had no reason to insult his own membership to begin with.

            Sure he did, if what he said was true. People sometimes tell the truth even when it is not in their best interest to do so, you know.

            No, it’s that she only gave those assessments in a couple of instances, while continually discussing different wages – and in most cases, failing to cite tips. Had she cited tips, most people would have noticed that, actually, most people in the industry were being paid at or above minimum wage, and then she wouldn’t really have much a story.

            So, in your view, newspapers should not report on illegal mistreatment of workers unless “most people in the industry” are being mistreated? And if they do, this makes them unreliable?

            Yes, a lack of knowledge may lead to an awkward situation where, if someone had the knowledge, they would feel demeaned.

            You didn’t answer any of my questions! We want to know whether it is true, as you claimed earlier, that no one is demeaned unless they believe they are being demeaned. Are the people in the scenarios I described being demeaned, or not?

          • AnonEEmous says:

            “Sure he did, if what he said was true. People sometimes tell the truth even when it is not in their best interest to do so, you know.”

            Yes, and people who have been found to have mis-translated other sources with no reason to lie, sometimes mis-translate those that do. Surely you can admit that’s more likely than the owner of an association trashing his entire membership? Oh, and the corrected statement he makes matches up with what the Bureau of Labor Statistics thinks. You can read their statistics anytime you’d like. What about the writer of the article’s personal spreadsheet of statistics? Well we’ve been over that: not available. Sad!

            “So, in your view, newspapers should not report on illegal mistreatment of workers unless “most people in the industry” are being mistreated? And if they do, this makes them unreliable?”

            Again, the problem is that she was mostly talking about low wages…while excluding the discussion of tips. If she just wanted to talk about other illegal mistreatment of workers, she would’ve had a much shorter piece, and since all she had was some scattered incidents, no one would have given a shit. So she had to talk about all the people being cruelly underpaid, except they weren’t. Oops!

            “You didn’t answer any of my questions!”

            A lack of reading comprehension is a sad thing.

            “We want to know whether it is true, as you claimed earlier, that no one is demeaned unless they believe they are being demeaned. Are the people in the scenarios I described being demeaned, or not?”

            So again I’ll explain: they are in a situation where, if they had full knowledge, they might feel demeaned, and thus be demeaned. But they did not have this knowledge. Because of this situation, many people will interpret it in many different ways, but I will still say that, no, you can’t be demeaned if you do not feel that you have been. Moreover, it all hinges on a matter of knowledge and opinion, and again, this is usually where feminists will slip on their feminist lenses and spot slights that do not exist. (For example, they might say that we “know” someone is a sexual predator, when said person has not been convicted of sexual assault). That’s why feminism, as an ideology, produces unreliable sources…thus, the New York Times.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Surely you can admit that’s more likely than the owner of an association trashing his entire membership?

            The NYT attributed a quotation to someone, he subsequently denied having said it, and you, because of your hostility to the Times, have chosen to believe the source rather than the reporter. You were supposed to be providing evidence that the Times is unreliable, but it sounds to me like all you have to go on is tendentious speculation.

            Again, the problem is that she was mostly talking about low wages…while excluding the discussion of tips.

            You keep repeating the same falsehood. Here, again, are the parts of the article which show your claim is incorrect:

            “Employers in New York are permitted to pay such workers slightly less than the state’s $8.75 minimum hourly wage, based on a complex calculation of how much a worker is making in tips. But interviews with scores of workers revealed rates of pay so low that the so-called tip calculation is virtually meaningless. None reported receiving supplemental pay from their bosses, as is legally required when their day’s tips fall short of the minimum wage.”

            “Non-Korean manicurists are often forced into less desirable jobs in the boroughs outside Manhattan or even farther out from the city, where customers are typically fewer and tips often paltry.”

            I will still say that, no, you can’t be demeaned if you do not feel that you have been.

            Man, you sure are reluctant to give a straight answer! Are the people in the scenarios I described being demeaned, or no?

        • Silder says:

          That’s trivia about minor stuff that you and I will never know with certainty – the best evidence you could in theory dredge up would be eyewitness testimony. Sure, he was born in Hawaii, who cares? (Although his book publisher did mention in his promotional bio that he was born in Kenya so there is some sense that those on the left really really like the idea of him being foreign born – publisher bios are built to sell books after all.)

          On the other hand left delusions are things like

          1) Only 22.5% of people believe that blacks are less intelligent than white – this is a factual question with a right answer and that’s not it.
          2) Only 33.2% of people believe that blacks are more criminal than whites

          etc.

          Trump supporters do better on these measurements but not all that well either.

          http://thesource.com/2016/06/30/new-poll-trump-supporters-think-blacks-are-less-intelligent-more-lazy-and-violent-than-whites/

          That’s major major stuff that has very important implications that has been drowned in lies – that’s a festering mess of delusion.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            That’s trivia about minor stuff that you and I will never know with certainty

            The evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii and is not in any sense a Muslim is incomparably stronger than the evidence for just about any hypothesis about the nature of human intelligence. As, I might add, is the evidence that Clinton’s top aides are not running a child molestation ring out of a DC pizza joint.

            Think about what you’re saying here. The chance that Obama– who has been baptized, goes to church fairly regularly, and speaks often of his faith in Jesus– is a secret Muslim can’t be more than, what, one in ten thousand? One in one hundred thousand? Are you really 99.99% certain that your pet racial theories will turn out to be right?

            (Although his book publisher did mention in his promotional bio that he was born in Kenya so there is some sense that those on the left really really like the idea of him being foreign born – publisher bios are built to sell books after all.)

            This, too, is a part of the delusional world the right has constructed for itself.

            “You’re undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me — an agency assistant at the time,” Goderich wrote.

            http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/booklet.asp

          • Silder says:

            This, too, is a part of the delusional world the right has constructed for itself.

            Pointing out true things that make you angry isn’t delusion. His publisher bio really did say he was from Kenya. Saying “well, someone there later claimed it was a mistake” doesn’t contradict “his publisher bio said he was from Kenya” in any way.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Only 22.5% of people believe that blacks are less intelligent than white – this is a factual question with a right answer and that’s not it.

            Just like with “Christian” above, different definitions of “intelligence” are probably playing into this. Since you’re calling it a factual question, I’m guessing you’re defining “intelligence” as “your score on an IQ test.” Meanwhile, many people are probably defining it in a different way more related to the real world than to tests – as evinced by the articles arguing IQ is a flawed measure of real intelligence.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @ Silder

            Pointing out true things that make you angry isn’t delusion.

            You claimed, falsely, that the publisher bio was designed to sell books. In fact, the bio was designed to circulate only within the publishing industry, and Obama did not go on to publish a book for another 4 years. You also claimed, falsely, that the error shows that “there is some sense that those on the left really really like the idea of him being foreign born.” In fact, an assistant made a fact-checking mistake.

          • Silder says:

            In fact, an assistant made a fact-checking mistake.

            No, the publisher said that a fact-checker made a mistake.

            Assertions of motivation aren’t facts. You have to figure out incentives and in this case the incentive later is obviously to lie.

            You claimed, falsely, that the publisher bio was designed to sell books. In fact, the bio was designed to circulate only within the publishing industry

            Publishing industry buzz influences sales – at least in the sense that some books with buzz get picked up and become cultural items. Why would publishers bother to send bios of authors to each other if there’s no expected benefit to the publisher? Of course the things publishers do are supposed to sell books – that’s why authors contract with publishers.

            You seem to make this mistake frequently – “x is true about person z, therefore we can likely conclude y negative thing about person z” and your rebuttal is “person z provided another explanation for x, therefore that explanation is true”.

          • Silder says:

            Meanwhile, many people are probably defining it in a different way more related to the real world than to tests – as evinced by the articles arguing IQ is a flawed measure of real intelligence.

            Right, that’s my exact point.

            That claim is just a flat denial of reality. They’re not proposing an alternate measure of intelligence. They’re not stating that measures of intelligence don’t make good predictions (they make very good predictions). They’re not proposing experiments that would demonstrate their position – how about taking two groups one of which has a cut off of 110-120 IQ the other which has 70-80 IQ and compare them in novel tests or in life outcomes or in any other way you can think of – if IQ is a bad measurement you will get results that differ by no more than chance – but you know you won’t get those results. In other words if IQ is such a bad measurement why does it make so many good predictions?

            PS No, btw, intelligence is not “your score on an IQ test”. IQ tests are a measurement.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Assertions of motivation aren’t facts. You have to figure out incentives and in this case the incentive later is obviously to lie.

            The assistant says she made a fact-checking mistake. You claim she is lying. Do you have any actual evidence, or is this just another example of the evidence-free paranoia that’s come to define the right?

            Publishing industry buzz influences sales – at least in the sense that some books with buzz get picked up and become cultural items.

            If telling the truth makes the same point, why did you repeat a falsehood instead? The bio was not written by his publisher, and it was not intended to sell books. It was written by his literary agency, presumably in order to attract a publisher.

          • The bio was not written by his publisher, and it was not intended to sell books. It was written by his literary agency, presumably in order to attract a publisher.

            In order to sell books. That, after all, is the point of getting published.

          • Tekhno says:

            @Silder

            Only 22.5% of people believe that blacks are less intelligent than white – this is a factual question with a right answer and that’s not it.

            This is interesting. My impression before hearing that was that the majority of people believed this, and the left/right difference was primarily due to what people believed the cause behind the intelligence gap was.

            I thought the split was something like this:
            Far left (extreme minority): Black and white average intelligence is equal. Fringe view.
            Center left (making up the majority among with the center right): Strong evidence that average black intelligence is lower than white intelligence, but this is due to historical and current oppression, environmental factors, poverty, lead poisoning etc.
            Center right: Strong evidence that average black intelligence is lower than white intelligence, but this is due to black culture and left wing policies like the welfare state. If more blacks adopted conservative ideology and we stopped giving handouts, the gap would shrink blah blah look at Thomas Sowell etc.
            Far right/alt-right (extreme minority): Irrefutable evidence that average black intelligence is lower than white intelligence and this is strongly genetic and fixed, the gap will never shrink, inferior race, deport them all blah blah etc.

            EDIT:

            Whereas really it’s more like this?

            Far left (extreme minority): WHAT DID YOU SAY?!!!!!
            Center left (making up the majority among with the center right): Black and white average intelligence is equal.
            Center right: Black and white average intelligence is almost certainly equal, but you know… T-there is some very weak evidence that average black intelligence is lower than white intelligence, but this is due to black culture and left wing policies like the welfare state, ASSUMING IT’S TRUE!. If more blacks adopted conservative ideology and we stopped giving handouts, the gap would shrink blah blah look at Thomas Sowell DID I TELL YOU I HAVE BLACK FRIENDS? etc.
            Far right/alt-right (extreme minority): Irrefutable evidence that average black intelligence is lower than white intelligence and this is strongly genetic and fixed, the gap will never shrink, inferior race, deport them all blah blah etc.

            2) Only 33.2% of people believe that blacks are more criminal than whites

            This is also interesting, because crime statistics point to the majority of people being wrong on this point.

            Again, I didn’t think this was the issue. I thought it was that left wing people agreed that blacks were more criminal, but were sympathetic and thought it was due to oppression, and conservatives thought it was due to being insufficiently conservative and getting welfare, and the far-right thought it was genetic.

            There are big problems with the American justice system, but to believe that the racial imprisonment gap is solely due to corruption implies that all of those crimes are being made up so that the racist police can arrest black people. It implies Nazi like levels of racism across the police, not just implicit bias, and it implies a deep conspiracy to frame people on a colossal industrial scale, and then you have to believe that this is going on across all Western countries where the stats break down similarly…

            I didn’t think this is what was under dispute at all.

          • suntzuanime says:

            Yeah man, it’s nuts. But hey, whaddayagonnado.

          • Aapje says:

            @Tekhno

            I think that it makes little sense to presume that people actually think about it in such detail. For most of society, even being willing to entertain the possibility that ethnic groups could differ in average intelligence is anathema.

            Basically, most people really, really don’t want to be racist, so they choose positions that are ‘not racist.’ Being factually right or wrong is not even an issue, since it’s obvious that ‘not racist’ is right…

            This also explains why so many people reject the fact that black people commit more crime.

            A related issue is that the people who believe in ‘equality of outcome’ need groups to be equal in capability for their ideology to make sense. If they abandon that belief, they have to completely restructure their belief system, which people tend to fight with all their might, since it is too threatening/dangerous.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think that it makes little sense to presume that people actually think about it in such detail. For most of society, even being willing to entertain the possibility that ethnic groups could differ in average intelligence is anathema.

            I wonder what the results would look like if the poll only asked, say, Mensa members, or other group selected for intelligence.

            For that matter, I wonder how it would look like if they asked only academics, who notably skew extremely left-wing. On one hand, they’ve got every reason to claim equality. On the other hand, they have both intellectual integrity and being the type of person who might have thought about this and familiarized themselves with the research at some point.

          • Aapje says:

            @Anonymous

            I wonder what the results would look like if the poll only asked, say, Mensa members, or other group selected for intelligence.

            Intelligence doesn’t make one impervious to social norms. If there is a difference, it’s probably correlation, not causation. For example, highly intelligent people are probably more ostracized on average, which probably often results in one of two reactions:
            – rejecting social norms
            – doubling down on social norms to gain acceptance

            So my theory is that they would have more SJ believers and more HBD believers than average.

            On the other hand, they have both intellectual integrity

            I have no reason to believe that all, let alone most academics have a lot of intellectual integrity.

            Most seem very prone to groupthink and have a distinct lack of willingness to step out of line (which is often heavily punished, so this is quite understandable).

          • Anonymous says:

            There are big problems with the American justice system, but to believe that the racial imprisonment gap is solely due to corruption implies that all of those crimes are being made up so that the racist police can arrest black people. It implies Nazi like levels of racism across the police, not just implicit bias, and it implies a deep conspiracy to frame people on a colossal industrial scale, and then you have to believe that this is going on across all Western countries where the stats break down similarly…

            That’s a pretty good article. It’s probably safe to conclude that wide-membership secret conspiracies don’t exist.

            OTOH, something that works out to roughly the same result, large numbers of people individually coming to the conclusion that a given action in a given situation is in their best interest, is definitely possible. Not that I think that the average policeman is more Nazi than actual Nazis, mind. Just that if they were, they wouldn’t need a conspiracy.

          • Anonymous says:

            @Aapje

            Good points. I would still liked to have seen how it went down in practice.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Tekhno

            I think your first grouping is more like what white people actually believe (revealed by their actions). If the majority believed intelligence (as expressed, not inherent ‘g’) was really equal across races, they wouldn’t fight so hard to make sure their kid goes to the school where the minorities are Chinese and Indian rather than black and Hispanic.

            This doesn’t tell us why they believe this, whether they think it’s genetic or cultural or the aftereffects of centuries of oppression; it does rule out a few theories like them believing the tests are biased.

          • Tekhno says:

            @Aapje

            A related issue is that the people who believe in ‘equality of outcome’ need groups to be equal in capability for their ideology to make sense.

            Do they? You could still continue a different variant of the ideology if you insist on finding ways to make unequal people equal, whether that be through social methods, or eugenics/genetic manipulation.

            I often wonder what American white tower leftism would be like if you stripped out the egalitarianism. Basically put scientists in charge of progressivism instead of emotive types.

            Conservatives: “You’re all just a bunch of city slicker know it all elitists! Bunch of hypocritical aristocrats! Admit it!”
            Neoprogressives: “You know what? Fuck it. Yes, we’re elitists! We’re aristocrats!”
            Conservatives: *gulp*

            Would these hypothetical neoprogressives technically be right wing, since right wing thought is all about honest appreciation for hierarchy, instead of the embarrassment about hierarchy that normally defines the left?

          • Anonymous says:

            @Tekhno

            I figure they would be this opaque amalgam like the Communist Party of China is.

          • Aapje says:

            @Nybbler

            There are many possible reasons for white flight other than believing in ethnic IQ differences. For example, dislike of having their kid learn along with black/hispanic people because:
            – they see those groups as being more poor/lower class on average
            – they dislike ‘black culture’ and/or ‘hispanic culture’
            – they believe that black schools are discriminated against by teachers/the government/etc and thus have poorer quality

            @Tekhno

            You could still continue a different variant of the ideology if you insist on finding ways to make unequal people equal, whether that be through social methods, or eugenics/genetic manipulation.

            They could, but it is difficult to defend, because it’s easy for opponents to claim that when their methods don’t immediately succeed in creating equality (which they never will, because changing things is hard), there are non-fixable differences.

            BTW, I do think that there are environmental factors that influence IQ, many of which are related to poverty, so one could argue that anti-poverty measures would raise the IQ of certain groups.

        • cassander says:

          And half of democratic voters think the russians hacked voting machines to favor trump. Pointing out that voters tell pollsters that they believe insane things proves nothing.

          http://hotair.com/archives/2016/12/27/yougov-poll-52-of-democrats-believe-russia-tampered-with-the-vote-totals-to-get-trump-elected-president/

          • Randy M says:

            I don’t know how they could get that from the incessant “Russia hacked the election” slogans.

          • Iain says:

            Thought experiment: suppose the left was allowed to taboo that result, on the semi-justifiable grounds that it is in part just measuring confusion about what the intelligence community reports about Russian intervention actually say. Suppose the right was allowed to taboo one poll of their own side. (If you like, you could make it two.) What is the next worst example of conspiratorial thinking on the left, and how does it compare to the equivalent on the right?

          • Randy M says:

            This may be one, though I’m not saying it’s the most recent or relevant:
            JFK was killed by right-wingers.
            I don’t have survey data, but I’d be surprised if it isn’t a widely held belief given that it was heavily implied his death was connected to a reactionary culture of hate rather than an ex-soviet loon.

          • Iain says:

            I found a couple of Gallop polls. The issue is complicated by the fact that a majority of Americans still apparently believe that there was a conspiracy. Republicans do come out ahead of Democrats in terms of believing that Oswald acted alone, but the margin is 28%-16%, so nobody is covering themselves in glory here. I can’t find a partisan breakdown of beliefs about the specific culprits, but my second link indicates that the two most popular options are “the US government” and “the Mafia” at 13%, followed by “the CIA” at 7%. “Anti-government/right-wing groups” gets very little support (1%).

            I think the Democrats would be happy to match that up against any of the Republican conspiracies in Earthly Knight’s post.

          • cassander says:

            @Ian

            The next most absurd belief would probably be the varieties of “bush knew about 9/11” that used to poll majority or plurality support among democrats. But the “Trump is putin’s cat’s paw” that seems to be coalescing would top that for sheer absurdity. Who in the world would be dumb enough to trust Donald trump to be a cat’s paw?

            On the right, the “obama is a kenyan muslim atheist” is definitely up there, egged on by the weirdness around Obama’s biography. Other than that, though, I’m not sure what I’d pick. I’m sure there’s something, but I live in DC and what red tribers I do run into tend to be the more sophisticated variety.

          • Iain says:

            Right, “Bush did 9/11” is a good example on the left (although depending on the precise wording of the question, the polling sometimes ropes in people who think that Bush should have paid more attention to the intelligence community’s warnings that al-Qaeda was plotting something big.)

            Are you aware that “cat’s paw” is typically used to describe somebody who is used “unwittingly or unwillingly“? Why is it ridiculous to think that Putin is using Trump as a tool to accomplish his own goals?

          • John Schilling says:

            What is the next worst example of conspiratorial thinking on the left, and how does it compare to the equivalent on the right?

            Give them time; Trump hasn’t even been inaugurated yet.

            But if you insist on something historical, the belief that George W. Bush won the 2000 and 2004 elections by vote-counting fraud, e.g. miscounted ballots in Florida and rigged Diebold voting machines in Ohio, seems a very close parallel. I can’t find specific polling data on that, except from sites too obviously partisan to trust, but this suggests that about two-thirds of Democrats believed that 2000 Dubya’s election was not legitimate, down to 40% w/re the 2004 election.

            It also points out that this isn’t unusual. About half the population, Democrat and Republican alike, will suspect fraud in any presidential election that their side loses. So at any given time, half the members of the losing political tribe will at least sort of believe the really big conspiracy theories about Evil Overlords rigging elections, while the winning tribe merely has to believe in lesser corruptions and generic obstructionism to explain why things aren’t going their way.

            Trump may be able to break this historic trend by arranging for half of Americans from both parties to start believing the really big conspiracy theories as to how such an inept buffoon got into office. But, be fair, the right-wing nutcases have had eight years to practice the art of dreaming up Presidential conspiracies; the left-wing nutcases are out of practice and will take some time coming up to speed.

          • ChetC3 says:

            What is the next worst example of conspiratorial thinking on the left, and how does it compare to the equivalent on the right?

            “The left” and “the right” are broad enough subsets of humanity that there’s no practical limit to the degree of craziness you can find within them.

          • cassander says:

            @john Schilling

            As I recall, the diebold thing was largely post the 2000 election.

            @ian

            Right, but how many people know that oswald was literally a communist defector?

            >Why is it ridiculous to think that Putin is using Trump as a tool to accomplish his own goals?

            Odd, I’ve always used the term cat’s paw to be deliberate. Manchurian candidate, then.

          • Iain says:

            @ChetC3: Fair. “Republicans” vs “Democrats” would have been a more precise statement. I have my disagreements with the Canadian right, for example, but they certainly don’t seem to have an abnormally high support for conspiracy theories.

            @John Schilling: The set of people who called GWB “illegitimate” includes some number who agree on all the facts but, for example, believe that Bush v. Gore was incorrectly decided. I would argue that there is a qualitative difference between that kind of partisan opposition and more fact-based conspiracies, like “Bush planned 9/11” or “Obama was born in Kenya”. I would further postulate that the latter category tends to be more successful among Republicans than among Democrats. For example, I can’t think of a Democratic 9/11 truther of remotely comparable stature to the current President-Elect birther.

          • cassander says:

            @ For example, I can’t think of a Democratic 9/11 truther of remotely comparable stature to the current President-Elect birther.

            Why not? They seem extremely comparable to me.

          • Iain says:

            Maybe my phrasing was confusing.

            Trump is a prominent birther and a prominent Republican.

            Who is a prominent truther and a prominent Democrat?

          • John Schilling says:

            The “Diebold thing” was mostly the 2004 election, yes. And after the 2004 election, if the Los Angeles Times got their numbers right, 40% of Democrats believed that the 2004 election was fraudulent. Apparently including our current Secretary of State. That’s not agreeing on the facts and disagreeing with the Supreme Court on Bush v. Gore, that’s straight-up conspiracy theory that differs only in the name of the villain from Putin’s imagined hacking of voting machines in 2016.

            Whichever candidate loses, half of their supporters will believe the election was in some significant way fraudulent. This is the new normal, for a definition of “new” stretching back a decade or more.

          • Civilis says:

            Are you aware that “cat’s paw” is typically used to describe somebody who is used “unwittingly or unwillingly“? Why is it ridiculous to think that Putin is using Trump as a tool to accomplish his own goals?

            Is it ridiculous to think of Obama being manipulated to accomplish the goals of the European left (*cough* Nobel Peace Prize)? Is it ridiculous to think of Obama as being used by the government of Iran? For that matter, was FDR manipulated by Stalin to accomplish his goal of communist domination of half of Europe? Be very careful about what standard you use here. It’s normal for world leaders to try to persuade other world leaders to do things in their favor, often by pointing out potential benefits to the country of the one of whom the favor is requested, and it’s not entirely a bad thing.

          • Aapje says:

            If anything, it is the US that is manipulating other leaders more than anyone else.

          • Iain says:

            @John Schilling: John Kerry harboured private doubts about the outcome of the 2004 election, apparently didn’t talk about them publicly for more than a decade, and refused to challenge the results at the time. How exactly does that example support the idea that Democrats are equally prone to promoting conspiracies? By comparison, Donald Trump has been baselessly claiming voter fraud in an election he won.

          • hyperboloid says:

            @Civilis

            If I’m understanding you right, your defense of Trump is that his relationship with Putin is similar to Obama’s relationship with European social democrats.

            That is, to my mind, a damming thing to say about Trump. Obama isn’t a useful idiot being manipulated by Stefan Löfven, Sigmar Gabriel, or Matteo Renzi, he fundamentally shares their basic progressive internationalist would view.

            Questions of political practicality aside, if Obama had his way he would, I have no doubt, turn the US into Norway. Are you making the same claim about Trump and Russia?

          • Civilis says:

            If I’m understanding you right, your defense of Trump is that his relationship with Putin is similar to Obama’s relationship with European social democrats.

            I’ve had to resign myself to the US cozying up to unfriendly and undemocratic regimes for decades: Clinton (Bill) and China, W and the Saudis, Obama and just about anyone besides Libya at one time or another, now Trump and Russia. I’ve reluctantly come around to the view that we’re stuck with realpolitik, which means tolerating these hostile regimes because we can’t afford the political capital (and inherent risk) to do something about any of them.

            I don’t have a real problem with Obama’s relation with Europe’s social democrats, though I don’t like either. I do have a problem with Obama willingly playing cat’s paw for Iran’s regime, more of a problem than I have with Trump and Russia.

            Questions of political practicality aside, if Obama had his way he would, I have no doubt, turn the US into Norway. Are you making the same claim about Trump and Russia?

            The European left are pushing policies that they believe benefit Europe. Putin is pushing policies that benefit Russia. Iran is pushing policies that benefit Iran. None of them are pushing policies that benefit the US. The problem is that we can’t do anything about Russia without a lot of political capital, both domestic and international. Letting Russia have its way does little to harm the US in the short term (the long term loss of trust is a real issue, but I’m resigned to that no matter who is in the office).

            I don’t see any ideological connection between Trump and Putin, much less than I see one between Obama and Iran (not Islam, but a fundamental hostility to the US as sole generally benevolent superpower). Frankly, I think Trump just doesn’t want to worry about Russia and thinks there will be one less problem during his tenure if he appeases them (kicking the can down the road). This benefits Russia, so of course they’re in favor.

          • Moon says:

            Trump doesn’t just tolerate Russia. He praises them at every turn, favorably comparing them to our president, our 5 intelligence agencies etc., in order to bash the pres and the intelligence agencies. He’s quite worshipful, which is concerning to me, and many other people.

          • Aapje says:

            @Moon

            One can argue that dictators need that sort of treatment (especially those with ressentiment). Both George W Bush and Obama went outside of normal American social norms to make the Saudi king happy, for example.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            What is the next worst example of conspiratorial thinking on the left, and how does it compare to the equivalent on the right?

            Patriarchy theory?

      • hoghoghoghoghog says:

        Leftists object to the laws of economics in the same sense that the Wright brothers objected to the law of gravity.

        • suntzuanime says:

          And in the same fashion that the guy who straps feathers to his arms and jumps off a cliff objects to the law of gravity.

        • AnonEEmous says:

          Successfully and to the great benefit of the entire human race?

        • TenMinute says:

          The Wright brothers fight against gravity never ended in a fiery crash with no survivors

        • Art Vandelay says:

          I think you’re being too generous here – there’s no reason to believe that we could find rules governing economies that are even remotely comparable to the laws of physics, and it’s abundantly clear that we haven’t found any so far.

          • there’s no reason to believe that we could find rules governing economies that are even remotely comparable to the laws of physics, and it’s abundantly clear that we haven’t found any so far.

            Does your “remotely comparable” allow for laws that give us good but imperfect information? If not, you could make as good a case for climate science–another science built around a system too complicated to produce predictions with certainty.

            If yes, then we have quite a lot of laws of economics that qualify.

          • Art Vandelay says:

            Actually I think your example for comparison is quite telling – have you ever heard anyone talk about “the laws of climate science”?

          • rlms says:

            I agree with Art. If you’re comparing climatology and economics, you’re saying that any economic theory that comes mainly from a priori theorising rather than looking at data will be pretty much useless.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            “A general circulation model (GCM) is a type of climate model. It employs a mathematical model of the general circulation of a planetary atmosphere or ocean. It uses the Navier–Stokes equations on a rotating sphere with thermodynamic terms for various energy sources (radiation, latent heat). These equations are the basis for computer programs used to simulate the Earth’s atmosphere or oceans. ” — Wikipedia

          • If you’re comparing climatology and economics, you’re saying that any economic theory that comes mainly from a priori theorising rather than looking at data will be pretty much useless.

            I’m curious what your view is of AGW.

            Looking just at the data, I doubt we would have much reason to believe it. It’s true that over the past century both CO2 concentration and average global temperature have gone up. But temperature went both up and down prior to that with no link to CO2, temperature in the geological past doesn’t follow a simple pattern of rising after CO2 increased. And over the past century, there was no close correlation between CO2 changes and temperature changes–for about thirty years in the mid-20th century average temperature was flat to mildly declining.

            I would have said that it is only because there is a straightforward theoretical basis for AGW and that theory suggests various experiments to confirm it, that almost everyone in the field interprets the pattern as AGW plus various other things that mess up the pattern.

            Very much like the situation in economics, where theory tells you what is likely to happen and you check the predictions of the theory against evidence both because you might have made a mistake in your theory and because the theoretical result depends on simplifying assumptions that probably don’t matter for the conclusion but might.

      • So left means raducal left, and the moderate centre left basically dont exist, whereas right means traditional right, and the radical right basucally doesn’t exist.

        • Deiseach says:

          I think part of the problem, especially in the American context, is that there is a social and an economic conservatism/liberalism, which do not necessarily go hand-in-hand together.

          You have the ‘traditional’ notion of the socially and economically conservative on the right and the socially and economically liberal on the left, and depending how hard they lean, they can be extreme or radical.

          But it’s equally possible to have centrist-social positions where left and right meet, but diverge on economy. Or economically-centrist positions held by left and right but socially divergent (so both centrist-left and centrist-right would agree that capitalism is the working economic system for the society but the left person could go as far left as you like on gay rights, trans rights, sex, race, etc. and the same for the right person).

          So what then is “radical left” and what is “extreme right” in this case? I’m sure, for instance, you could get a white supremacist who is all in favour of divorce, reproductive rights and sex outside of marriage and even same-sex marriage (as long as it’s two white guys getting married and adopting white kids to have a white family). You can have pro-life atheists. You can have conservative right-wingers who haven’t darkened the door of a church since they were four and never say a prayer in adult life but would still identify as “Presbyterian, Methodist, etc.” if asked. You can have progressive Christians who are a lot more committed to their religion than the former, even if they believe Naomi and Ruth were lesbian lovers (and not just mother-in-law and daughter-in-law). To mention the war, I liked Bernie Sanders (as old-fashioned Labour on class and economic issues) even where I’d diverge with him on social issues (he’d be more ‘radical left’ there and I’d be right-of-centre or right-wing, depending on how you’d slice it).

          There’s a mix of attitudes about all sorts of things, and the simple model of “radical left on every topic, extreme right on every topic” doesn’t hold when trying to sort people into baskets (deplorable or otherwise).

          • Civilis says:

            I think that with the United States, at the root, there’s now a definite divide between ‘government is a force for good’ and ‘government is a necessary evil’, and this line has appeared only over the past couple of decades.

            If you believe that the government is a force for good, the line between ‘social’ and ‘economic’ is arbitrary; if the government is justified in intruding in the economic sphere to make sure everyone has a good wage, it’s justified in intruding in the social sphere to make sure everyone eats healthy. In most cases, those social intrusions are justified by economic concerns (we must pay for school / college / pre-school to have a better workforce; smoking is banned because it leads to money wasted on health care).

      • NostalgiaForInfinity says:

        When left-ish people complain that the comment threads here are dominated by rightists, I think part of the frustration is that even on a rationalist blog, the posts can be so unbelievably tribal.

        I’m tempted to argue some of these points, but it seems like it might be fruitless given how uninterested you appear to be in treating people with differing opinions with any respect.

        “Opinions” being highlighted because you appear to think that everything you think is exactly in accordance with reality – and that others live in a dream world. If only there was a place on the internet that people could go to learn how unlikely that is…

        • Aapje says:

          Well, the most tribal poster we have is probably Moon/Jill, so by your logic, the right-wing people should be most upset (which they clearly aren’t).

          Silder is new and IMO, not worth replying to. He’ll probably leave/be banned before too long.

          It’s rather silly to use a first-time poster as an example of why some people dislike this community.

          • NostalgiaForInfinity says:

            Is Moon Jill? I hadn’t even realised.

            I didn’t claim that tribalism was the only factor.
            What bugged me most here were the insults – which I suppose is mostly what I meant by tribal. I don’t recall Jill making so many – but I concede that might be because I’m on the left and more sensitive to criticisms of my group…

            And yes, possibly. Silder’s comment bugged me.
            My complaint of tribalism isn’t really aimed at any of the regular commenters. Generally it’s of a pretty high standard here or I wouldn’t bother reading down to the 100th comment.
            Generally my perception is that the regular commentariat skews right (and isn’t particularly tribal), interspersed with occasional right-ist commenters who are.

          • AnonEEmous says:

            Yeah, I had noticed that Silder was probably an example of things left-wingers here were rightfully complaining about.

            If you reading this, Silder, no disrespect, but please understand that large political coalitions aren’t like that. The leaders may be, but I’ve found that on both sides of the spectrum. There are certainly things unique to right or left, but a will to power is definitely not one of them. “Radical transformation”, or just “Transformation” might be though.

        • hyperboloid says:

          @NostalgiaForInfinity

          Is Moon Jill? I hadn’t even realised.

          I’m nursing a conspiracy theory that she’s also Deiseach in on the long con.

          Also, are Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space novels (which I think your user name is a reference to) worth getting into? I’m looking for some new hard Sci fi to read.

          • Moon says:

            Yes, there is only one liberal. We are all identical clones, LOL.

            That happened because there was only a single liberal person who was willing to post on this board.

          • Deiseach says:

            I’m nursing a conspiracy theory that she’s also Deiseach in on the long con.

            My fiendish rat-like cunning apparently knows no bounds nor are there any depths to which I will not stoop! 🙂

          • hyperboloid says:

            Deiseach isn’t a liberal, I think she is a supporter of Fianna Fáil, which is a sort of Irish Christian democratic center right party, relatively progressive on economic issues and socially conservative.

            I on the other hand am a fairly conventional US liberal, and think your shrillness does little for the cause.

          • Moon says:

            As far as I can see, nothing on this board that anyone says does anything for the liberal cause, since I don’t see people seriously considering liberal ideas. But I like to stand up for myself. I understand that many people would rather other people don’t stand up for themselves, and will call them “shrill” or whatever if they do.

          • Aapje says:

            @Moon

            You are not making us ‘serious[ly] considering liberal ideas,’ either. You just like fighting with people:

            But I like to stand up for myself.

          • Moon says:

            Well since no one seems to consider liberal ideas, no matter what anyone says, I do no worse than the others here in that respect. I do like to show a rare example that liberals can indeed stand up for themselves. Of course I will be bashed, told that I am shrill, that I am not helping anything, not getting anyone to consider liberal ideas etc. etc. That just goes with the territory of standing up for oneself.

            Yes, I know you would rather I didn’t do that, and enjoy thinking of many more reasons to try to persuade me not to stand up for myself. Please feel free to enjoy yourself in this way.

          • cassander says:

            @hyperboloid

            >Also, are Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space novels (which I think your user name is a reference to) worth getting into? I’m looking for some new hard Sci fi to read.

            They’re pretty good. But the best hard sci fi is Peter Watts’ Blindsight and Echopraxia.

          • Aapje says:

            @Moon

            Come on, that is such a cop-out…

            ‘I’m not going to make a positive case for my ideas because no one will consider them anyway’ is what you are saying and it is clearly acting in bad faith.

            You are willing to keep droning on about the same conspiracy theories for which you haven’t been able to provide any evidence since you first proposed them, so why not switch some of that energy over to a post about what kind of government policies you want, on a certain topic?

          • rlms says:

            I guess Peter Watts’ excellent sci-fi novels are one of the less annoying things SSC commenters have been obsessed with posting about.

          • Bugmaster says:

            +1 for Blindsight. It’s the only genuinely frightening book that I’ve ever read; most other books in the genre tend to be of the “monsters come through windows” variety, i.e. totally boring.

          • Trofim_Lysenko says:

            @cassander

            Yes, though I couldn’t sustain interest in the series enough to enjoy a lot of the spin-off fiction in the same universe. It’s quite good, overall.

          • NostalgiaForInfinity says:

            Yeah, I think so – the first one is an easy enough read to find out. They’re kind of gothic in tone. The central idea is not a stunningly original one, but Reynolds’ used to work at the ESA and the world is pretty interestingly thought out. I haven’t read that series in a while but I still read all his work – currently waiting for his latest to be out in paperback before I shell out for a copy (I disapprove of a year long publishing gap between hardbacks and paperbacks).

            Not sure from your comment how hard you want your sci-fi to be but by his own admission he does bend that for the sake of the narrative. Later in the trilogy he introduces a couple of technologies that are definitely less “realistic” than the early ideas (things to do with the many worlds interpretations and inertia-suppression).

            Greg Egan does thoroughly hard sci-fi. Wrote a trilogy where the spacetime has a different metric. Which he worked out in a lot of detail

            I haven’t actually got round to reading it yet. Might have been too long since I studied GR to get my head round it.

      • ChetC3 says:

        Since they’re all in it for the power, they start murdering each other in the name of whatever leftist cause they organized under – Jim’s theory of the leftist singularity.

        “Jim” aka James A Donald is right-winger who has spent the last couple decades broadcasting over the internet his desire to see his political enemies murdered en masse. Why would you expect anyone but hardened right-wing zealots to take him seriously as an authority? Are you so poorly read that he’s the best source you’ve got? Or, perhaps, are you just here to virtue-signal to your fellow zealots, with no real interest in rational discussion?

        • Silder says:

          Jim is a terrible right wing person therefore his theory of leftist singularity is bad no-thought – got it.

          Or maybe I wasn’t arguing “this is true because Jim said it” and was pointing out “Jim described this in detail and you can search for it if you like”.

          Or, perhaps, are you just here to virtue-signal to your fellow zealots, with no real interest in rational discussion?

          When you use barb completely incorrectly because it’s associated with the hated enemy all you do is show that it hurts – way to demonstrate that the idea of virtue-signalling upsets you.

          • ChetC3 says:

            Jim is living proof that the right has no shortage of would-be mass murderers. Beyond that, I’m already familiar with the quality of his writing, so if you’d like me to regard your original post to be treated as anything other than an unsupported assertion that your political opponents are murderous hypocrites, feel free to provide reasoned arguments backed up with evidence.

          • Evan Þ says:

            Yes, I’d also like to see reasoned arguments with evidence for Jim’s leftist singularity. Please be sure to also consider the argument that liberals have peacefully risen to power (as opposed to radical leftists violently seizing power) in many countries across the West without any violent singularity.

          • Silder says:

            Evan Þ –

            The short version of the argument:

            First, there is a pattern of leftist movements winning then slaughtering each other and (sometimes) large swathes of the population (Soviet Union, revolutionary France, Cambodia, (just to pick 3 examples that are different in lots of respects), etc.). Once you notice this pattern, you have to ask why it exists. Next you have to ask why it doesn’t happen every time a leftist movement succeeds.

            For the long version of why it doesn’t happen in the United States you have to read some *****bug. Ultra-short version – the American / Anglo left is the only leftist movement that survived to the present and since the society has existed with the left and vice versa memetic evolution has forced it to be less immediately murderous (the analogy MM used was that the cultural antibodies exist for American / Anglo leftist but when it backs leftist revolutions elsewhere the other country gets a full dose with corresponding cultural / social adaptations to moderate it). Being old is protective because massively destructive old things don’t survive.

            That’s the short version of why it doesn’t happen everywhere – the short version of why it does happen in some places is the one I gave above. “We should have power because we are good people and we are good people because we have the correct political beliefs” – where the beliefs are a particular reality denying belief (since there’s no signalling value in holding true beliefs). Sometimes the groups with that metabelief system hold together long enough to win – when they then turn the “your beliefs are wrong, therefore everyone should mob and murder you (or hound you out of society)” on their former allies / rivals.

          • Tekhno says:

            I’m pretty sure that you can have a Nationalist singularity too. I have my own theory, which I think is better than Jim’s.

            I theorize that ideologies based on maximizing single principles like “equality”, “liberty”, or “race purity” are far far more dangerous than ideologies that cross multiple principles against each other to find balance (which explains why liberal leftists who don’t bet it all on the liberation of the proletariat have no death squads). They have paper clip maximizer like qualities but for the ideological realm, leading to purity spirals where outflanking your comrades is always advantageous until the whole thing collapses in mass death, or someone finally setting some other standard/cross principle.

            Monomaniacal ideologies like this include things like Communism, yes, but also Fascism and various forms of Ultranationalist ideology such as what now circulates in the alt-right. Also, anarcho-capitalism and its edgier brother EnArrWrecks, but they purity spiral into uselessness rather than mass death instead, since the founding principles paralyze action rather than catalyze it (NAP, and “all political activism is leftist” Passivism).

            Certainly left singularity leaves things explained. The Nazis certainly went through an enormously destructive accelerating spiral based on right wing nationalist ideology.

          • Anonymous says:

            Also, anarcho-capitalism and its edgier brother EnArrWrecks, but they purity spiral into uselessness rather than mass death instead, since the founding principles paralyze action rather than catalyze it (NAP, and “all political activism is leftist” Passivism).

            I’m at the same time glad you think this, suggesting that psyops is working, but also think you got it slightly off. Political activism being leftist and therefore inherently counterproductive is not because of some transcendent property of political activism, but because of contemporary conditions and its present form.

            What’s considered political activism these days is little more than an organized petition to our lords and masters to fix something. You gather up your numbers and agitate that you’re here, you’re numerous, and you should perhaps be listened to. This is totally leftist, because it bases its support on the number of followers, regardless of their actual worth, which is demotist, and because it appeals to the leftist power structures, which are only amenable to listening to left-aligned pleas (and ignoring or stamping out right-aligned ones).

            In other words, according to Death Eater doctrine, this form of activity is a waste of time because it does not result in getting from present situation P to the desired situation D in the future, but rather reinforces P and/or makes it worse. Death Eaters are working on activities that at least have a chance of helping along the transition from P to D, and at discovering new, rediscovering old and refining existing measures that can help with that.

            Political activism, as currently understood, is considered ineffective – a waste of time and effort at best – and therefore banned. This does not mean that the Death Eaters are doing nothing. It merely means they are pursuing politics by means that fall outside of the contemporary conception of political activism.

          • dndnrsn says:

            National Socialist Germany definitely had purity spirals. One example is that it became more and more required to show obedience and deference to Hitler – signing off letters with “Heil Hitler” went from something one official started doing, to basically being mandatory to the point not doing it was a cause for investigation (I’m trying to find a source for this but can’t recall which Nazi minister it was). The Nazi salute became mandatory. Etc.

            Or, there is the concept of “working towards the Fuehrer”:

            As historian Ian Kershaw explains,

            For the thirteen million Germans who voted Nazi in 1932, Hitler symbolized—chameleon-like—the various facets of Nazism which they found appealing. In his public portrayal, he was a man of the people, his humble origins emphasising the rejection of privilege and the sterile old order in favour of a new, vigorous, upwardly-mobile society built upon strength, merit, and achievement. He was seen as strong, uncompromising, ruthless. He embodied the triumph of true Germanic virtues—courage, manliness, integrity, loyalty, devotion to the cause—over the effete decadence, corruption, and effeminate weakness of Weimar society. Above all, he represented “struggle”—as the title of his book Mein Kampf advertised: struggle of the “little man” against society’s “big battalions”, and mortal struggle against Germany’s powerful internal and external enemies to assure the nation’s future.

            Once Hitler was in power, his public persona as the Führer of the German people encouraged both government officials and other Germans to take initiative on their own to help the nation realize the goals he expressed. In fact, he left it to others to figure out how to carry out policies and govern Germany.In a 1934 speech, a government official, the minister of food, explained:

            Everyone who has the opportunity to observe it knows that the Führer can hardly dictate from above everything which he intends to realise sooner or later. On the contrary, up till now everyone with a post in the new Germany has worked best when he has, so to speak, worked towards the Führer. Very often and in many spheres it has been the case—in previous years as well—that individuals have simply waited for orders and instructions. Unfortunately, the same will be true in the future; but in fact it is the duty of everybody to try to work towards the Führer along the lines he would wish. Anyone who makes mistakes will notice it soon enough. But anyone who really works towards the Führer along his lines and towards his goal will certainly both now and in the future one day have the finest reward in the form of the sudden legal confirmation of his work​.

            The dynamic this government official described occurred throughout the German government. Hitler stated goals and provided guidelines, and then he either appointed specific individuals to ensure that his goals were realized, or he let government bureaucrats and Nazi Party officials figure it out themselves. According to Kershaw, this process of “working toward the Führer” played out not just within the government but also across German society.

            Individuals seeking material gain through career advancement in party or state bureaucracy, the small businessman aiming to destroy a competitor through a slur on his “aryan” credentials, or ordinary citizens settling scores with neighbors by denouncing them to the Gestapo were all, in a way, “working towards the Führer”. . . . Time after time, Hitler set the barbaric tone, whether in hate-filled public speeches giving a green light to discriminatory action against Jews and other “enemies of the state”, or in closed addresses to Nazi functionaries or military leaders. . . . There was never any shortage of willing helpers, far from being confined to party activists, ready to “work towards the Führer” to put the mandate into operation.

            Kershaw is one of the historians whose explanation for the beginning of the Holocaust was that it began not as an order from on high, but rather in this fashion.

            The idea that purity spirals are a left wing thing but not a right wing thing is completely absurd.

          • Monomaniacal ideologies like this include things like Communism, yes, but also Fascism

            What do you think fascists were trying to maximize?

          • Tekhno says:

            The state, hence totalitarianism.

          • @Tekhno:

            What does maximizing the state mean? Is your claim that the government budget under Mussolini or Franco was as high it could possibly have been? If not, what is the one thing that is being maximized?

            My rather casual impression is that the Fascists were trying to maximize a mix of things, as you would prefer–national power, welfare of the population, patriotism, … .

          • Randy M says:

            Mussolini was the one who said “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”.

            Doesn’t necessarily mean that was their end goal; could have meant there was no limit to what they could do to maximize whatever it is they did work towards, order or national prosperity or whatever.

          • Tekhno says:

            What they were attempting to increase was the influence of the individual by the state, because it’s integral to Fascist theory that individuals are relative to the state. It’s a lot like Marxist theory, but just replace “the means of production” with “the state”. The economic goal of corporatism functionally integrates the private economy into the state, if it were to be carried out.

            “A state that governs totalitarianly is a new fact in history” ~ Mussolini or Gentile

            Of course, Italian Fascism got swamped by National Socialism so the German goal of maximizing race purity took over instead, and we can’t tell what Italian Fascism would have been like without that influence. In other cases, such as in Spain, the Fascists were duped and corralled by Franco.

      • dndnrsn says:

        Your assumption here, which I think is completely incorrect, is that there is some basic difference between people on the left, and people on the right – that the latter actually believe what they say they believe, and the former merely pick whatever will get them power.

        Do you have any evidence for this, at all?

        • Silder says:

          In other contexts everyone on both sides says that there are basic differences between people on the right and on the left.

          This isn’t even about that though – it’s about how leftist ideas end up with leftists manning circular firing squads. The explanation is not “well, leftists just tend to be shitty people”. It’s “there are features about leftist ideas that tend to lead to that outcome”.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Your precise words were:

            Since they’re all in it for the power, they start murdering each other in the name of whatever leftist cause they organized under…

            implying that there is some notable difference between people on the left and the right, or people who achieve power on the left and those who do so on the right.

          • Silder says:

            Yeah.

            Nothing about the type of people they are – it’s about the ideas they hold and how they use them to organize themselves.

          • Moon says:

            dndn, haven’t you been at this board a while? Haven’t you noticed yet how many commenters here believe that the Left is the source of all Evil and the Right the source of all Good? Silder is just playing the same song, 500th verse that we keep hearing here.

          • dndnrsn says:

            “They’re all in it for the power” directly says something about “they”. To say that someone is in it for the power because of the ideas they hold, and their ideas are about getting power, is circular.

            Either someone has an idea they want to implement because they think it is a good idea, and they seek power to implement that idea, in which case power is not their end goal, or they are the sort of person who just wants power, and they adopt the ideas that they think will best give them power, in which case power is their end goal.

            If someone’s ideas follow from their lust for power – if they think that communism will get them power best, they’re a communist, if they think fascism will get them power best, they’re a fascist, if they think neoliberalism will get them power best, etc – then it is about the type of person they are, the power-lusting variety.

        • cassander says:

          @dndnrsn

          >is that there is some basic difference between people on the left, and people on the right – that the latter actually believe what they say they believe, and the former merely pick whatever will get them power.

          What if this is the case? The fundamental difference I mean, not that people on the left are just bad people. Say, something like Jonathan Haidt’s moral foundations. And that this difference leads to the left having a greater tendency towards circular firing squads independent of the basic ideas. That is, convince left wingers to believe in freedom and democracy and you get the french revolution, on the right and you get the american.

          What do you do then?

          • hyperboloid says:

            Why do the French revolutionaries count as left wingers but not the Americans? The word was not in common use before the French revolution, but “all men are created equal” sounds pretty left wing by the standards of the time.

            Using the political concepts of the early nineteenth century
            the far left position was republicanism, the center left and right positions were some form of constitutional monarchy and the far right was absolute monarchy. Back dating that just a couple of decades to 1776 and you will find the majority of American revolutionaries pretty squarely on the far left.

          • cassander says:

            the american revolution gets to be right wing because it ultimately ended up being run by people like Washington, Franklin, and Adams, not Thomas Paine. Because its rhetoric, at least from those people, was about the defense of institutions and ideas they thought were being undermined, not the revolutionary overthrow of the establishment.

          • TenMinute says:

            If you’ve got the time, you can read Hannah Arendt’s “On Revolution” for an excellent discussion of the French vs American revolutions.
            TL;DR The American revolt’s orderly counter-revolution is the important difference, as Cassander pointed out.

          • dndnrsn says:

            The limitation of Haidt’s research is that his sample groups were “liberals” and “conservatives”, not “left” and “right”. You can find left-wingers who care about purity and loyalty very easily. They just tend not to be liberals, or at least not to call themselves liberals.

            The left-wingers who do “left-wing circular firing squads”, whether that’s in the form of the head of Department of the People’s Security torturing random people until they tell him about the vast counter-revolutionary conspiracy of wreckers and saboteurs that he wants to hear about, until he himself is purged and shot in the back of the neck in a forest somewhere because he didn’t catch the conspiracy fast enough, and then his replacement gets purged, etc, or in the form of the Campus Queer Collective’s leadership all denouncing each other for being homonormative and problematic, are the left-wingers who probably care the most about purity and loyalty and so on.

          • hyperboloid says:

            @cassander

            Because its rhetoric, at least from those people, was about the defense of institutions and ideas they thought were being undermined, not the revolutionary overthrow of the establishment.

            First of all I think you’re saying they weren’t radicals rather then they weren’t leftists, which is certainly true compared to the Jacobins, though not to the establishment British wig liberalism of the day. left wing politics and radicalism are often confused, but they are not the same , there are relatively conservative leftists (European social democrats being an obvious example), and there are radicals on the right.

            Also believe one Mr Jefferson of Virginia would have something to say about overthrowing the establishment.

            whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

            When the signers put their names to that document they crossed a line from defending their rights as Englishmen to
            engaging in an overt insurrection that aimed to abolish forever the sovereignty of the crown over the American colonies.

            The orderly conservative view of the American revolution is an ahistorical myth crafted to cover up the shear violence of the act. Loyalist constituted perhaps a third of all free white men in the colonies they were disproportionately drawn from the elite; and so violent was their suppression at the hands revolutionary militias that the name of a certain Virginian patriot, one Charles lynch, has been synonymous with the practice of mob justice ever since.

          • cassander says:

            @hyperboloid says:

            >whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

            That strikes me as claiming the abolishing the order is a last resort, not a joyous day to look forward to.

            >When the signers put their names to that document they crossed a line from defending their rights as Englishmen to engaging in an overt insurrection that aimed to abolish forever the sovereignty of the crown over the American colonies.

            Of course they did. but WHY they did it matters.

            >The orderly conservative view of the American revolution is an ahistorical myth crafted to cover up the shear violence of the act. Loyalist constituted perhaps a third of all free white men in the colonies they were disproportionately drawn from the elite; and so violent was their suppression at the hands revolutionary militias that the name of a certain Virginian patriot, one Charles lynch, has been synonymous with the practice of mob justice ever since.

            It was conservative for a revolution. That’s a relatively low bar, I grant you. But it could have gotten a hell of a lot worse.

      • Bugmaster says:

        I consider myself a part (at least somewhat) of the Environmentalist Left ™, and I think they have multiple goals that are not merely clearly defined, but also easy to measure:

        * Reduction in anthropogenic CO2 emissions, or at the very least, reduction of the first derivative of that curve. Obviously, reducing them to zero would be impossible, but even reducing the derivative to zero would be almost as good. By the way, “people breathe” is a red herring, since breathing is, on its own, a carbon-neutral process.

        * Reduction of the percentage of energy that comes from fossil fuels, in favor of nuclear power (at the very least) or renewable sources (at best), such as solar. The end goal is 100% renewable energy (plus or minus epsilon); but, once again, even something like 95% renewable or 42% renewable / 42% nuclear would be good enough.

        * Reduction of resource extraction (mining, logging, etc.) in wilderness areas on Earth. Once again, reduction to zero may be impossible, but reducing the first derivative to zero might be good enough.

        * Preservation of rare plant and animal species that are facing extinction. These have to be taken on a case-by-case basis, IMO, but note that these include edible species such as fish.

        * Reduction of harmful chemical compounds (e.g. lead, mercury) that are released into air and water as the byproducts of industrial processes (in addition to CO2, which I already mentioned). Same caveats as CO2 emissions.

        In each case, we can directly measure the progress made toward each goal; furthermore, we can evaluate the remaining work, and use this evaluation to distribute our efforts (i.e., money) most efficiently (e.g., if dropping down the remaining CO2 emissions to zero would cost more than all the other goals combined, then maybe it’s not worth it). I don’t think you can say this about many other leftist causes.

        • Silder says:

          Thank you – those are all perfect examples of what I was talking about.

          Reduction in anthropogenic CO2 emissions

          How much of a reduction? Whatever goal you have today is just fodder for more of the same tomorrow. Perfect for lefties to coalesce around – infinite coercive authority over anyone who tries to manufacture anything.

          Notice that the goal is the intermediate step and not the final outcome – presumably this is motivated by some concern about global warming climate change but the goal isn’t written in terms of ending climate change. This way, you can always find a different justification for why you needed to reduce CO2.

          Reduction of the percentage of energy that comes from fossil fuels, in favor of nuclear power (at the very least) or renewable sources (at best), such as solar.

          Again with the reduction thing – at least this one doesn’t have an infinite end game. This one does, however, fit with the “take issue with reality” thing I originally mentioned. What if solar and wind just aren’t viable even with technological advances? You seem to be a very unusual environmentalist who thinks nuclear should be considered. Most seem to set this goal up so that it’s impossible – without a huge reduction in energy usage (don’t worry, the party can determine who needs electricity the most, comrade).

          Reduction of resource extraction (mining, logging, etc.) in wilderness areas on Earth

          Again, why that goal? Why not “preserve a certain amount of wilderness”? (I’d even add “especially scenic wilderness that humans enjoy seeing (in person or video / pictures)”). Because the way you state the goal, there’s more control for the party. It’s a de facto land grab on the entire Earth – only usable with permission from the party.

          Preservation of rare plant and animal species that are facing extinction. These have to be taken on a case-by-case basis, IMO, but note that these include edible species such as fish.

          Preservation of fishing stocks is a very valid concern – which is completely different in nature from preserving the existence of every recorded species. Do you even know what the baseline extinction rate is if you use the definition of species that gets used in species preservation laws? With that definition of species there’s no way it’s visible in the historic record. Species is a really fuzzy line.

          Reduction of harmful chemical compounds (e.g. lead, mercury) that are released into air and water as the byproducts of industrial processes (in addition to CO2, which I already mentioned).

          Which has already happened to a massive degree over the last 50 or 60 years – nothing about reducing the harms from those chemicals, just “reduce the chemicals”. We’re 50 years down the road from the first reductions of those chemicals. This a perfect example of environmentalists not being satisfied with environmental goals and just asking for more and more process because the process gives them power.

          In each case, we can directly measure the progress made toward each goal; furthermore, we can evaluate the remaining work, and use this evaluation to distribute our efforts (i.e., money) most efficiently (e.g., if dropping down the remaining CO2 emissions to zero would cost more than all the other goals combined, then maybe it’s not worth it).

          This is literally the socialist calculation problem. Not worth it to whom? Who has the data to measure that and do that calculation (no one)? What incentive is there for the government body doing the calculation to actually even try to get it right?

          • Bugmaster says:

            How much of a reduction? Whatever goal you have today is just fodder for more of the same tomorrow.

            I think you should read my comment more carefully. I explicitly stated that a). reducing the emissions to zero is unrealistic, and b). I’d settle for reducing the rate of increase of the emissions to zero. This is a pretty finite goal.

            What if solar and wind just aren’t viable even with technological advances?

            What do you mean by “viable” ? That said, solar and wind are just examples, they were not meant to be exclusive (sorry for the confusion). Other renewable sources — such as hydroelectric, geothermal, some new thing we haven’t invented yet, etc. — are fine too.

            You seem to be a very unusual environmentalist who thinks nuclear should be considered.

            I can’t speak for other people, I can only speak for myself. Not sure what answer you’re looking for, here.

            Most seem to set this goal up so that it’s impossible – without a huge reduction in energy usage

            I do not advocate any kind of a government-mandated reduction in energy usage. However, I don’t see why even a conservative capitalist such as yourself would deliberately use more energy than is necessary. Energy costs money, you know.

            Again, why that goal? Why not “preserve a certain amount of wilderness”?

            I wanted to explicitly exclude natural disasters, e.g. a flood or an asteroid strike. Don’t get me wrong, there are good reasons to stop those as well, but they are out of scope for the environmentalist movement.

            Because the way you state the goal, there’s more control for the party.

            Which party ? What are you talking about ? I get the feeling that you somehow assume that the only possible implementation of any goal you disagree with is some kind of a totalitarian dictatorship, or maybe that everyone who disagrees with you is a mustache-twirling villain, or something. I am not one of those… but then, I suppose that’s exactly what an evil villain would say… *shrug*

            Species is a really fuzzy line.

            Sure, and that’s why I said “case by case basis”. But, off the top of my head, I’d rather live in a world with tuna, pandas, and honeybees in it; than a world without them. We could argue about what exactly does or does not count as a “honeybee” later.

            Which has already happened to a massive degree over the last 50 or 60 years – nothing about reducing the harms from those chemicals, just “reduce the chemicals”.

            The amount of lead in the environment has dropped drastically in the US, but not so much in other places in the world. Mercury has been dropping AFAIK, but is still above safe levels; before you complain, one good rule of thumb for what counts as “safe” is, “you can eat wild catfish without long-term ill effects”. Once again though, those two specific metals were just examples, and not an exclusive list. If you want to find more examples, go visit Beijing sometime.

            This is literally the socialist calculation problem. Not worth it to whom?

            Each goal I’ve listed has a measurable end point. This means that it’s possible to evaluate how much work is left before the goal is achieved. This means that when I, a voter, am deciding which proposal to vote for next, I may choose to drop goal A in favor of goals B and C, if finishing goal A would be prohibitively expensive. This is a pretty basic cost-benefit analysis; I can explain why cost-benefit analyses are useful in general, but you probably already know that…

          • The Nybbler says:

            b). I’d settle for reducing the rate of increase of the emissions to zero. This is a pretty finite goal.

            Which unfortunately implies a cap on energy usage and a decline in per-capita energy usage (i.e. an austerity plan), assuming population continues to increase (which seems inevitable in at least the short term).

            Other renewable sources — such as hydroelectric, geothermal, some new thing we haven’t invented yet, etc. — are fine too.

            Hydroelectric destroys ecosystems, geothermal kills geysers, contaminates rivers, etc. Regardless of what large-scale energy production people can come up with, it will have large scale environmental effects. I’ve even seen complaints about the reduction of planetary albedo due to solar panels. This leads to the philosophy of “f— it, if they’re going to oppose everything, just burn lignite”.

            I don’t see why even a conservative capitalist such as yourself would deliberately use more energy than is necessary. Energy costs money, you know.

            The time and effort it takes to reduce energy usage to the bare minimum for a given result ALSO costs money. This is especially true for an individual’s personal use, where the time and effort aren’t always fungible with money.

          • Iain says:

            Regardless of what large-scale energy production people can come up with, it will have large scale environmental effects. I’ve even seen complaints about the reduction of planetary albedo due to solar panels. This leads to the philosophy of “f— it, if they’re going to oppose everything, just burn lignite”.

            This is lazy. “Having large scale environmental effects” is not a binary property. It is entirely possible to evaluate the scope and scale of environmental effects, and incorporate that information into your decision making process. If you don’t think that environmentalists have been doing that analysis already, you need to hang out with a better class of environmentalist.

          • Silder says:

            I think you should read my comment more carefully. I explicitly stated that a). reducing the emissions to zero is unrealistic, and b). I’d settle for reducing the rate of increase of the emissions to zero. This is a pretty finite goal

            That’s a finite goal but it’s not a Schelling point. It’s an arbitrary point. Tomorrow comes along and I’m a better environmentalist than you because I demand less emissions. Clearly I should be running the department and you should be executed for being an enemy of the planet.

            What do you mean by “viable” ? That said, solar and wind are just examples, they were not meant to be exclusive (sorry for the confusion).

            Viable – able to generate sufficient power on demand at lower cost than current power supplies. No confusion on the wide array of possibilities but it seems like environmentalists just like them because they don’t exist.

            However, I don’t see why even a conservative capitalist such as yourself would deliberately use more energy than is necessary. Energy costs money, you know.

            Prices do a very good job at incentivizing businesses to use the correct amounts of resources.

            Which party ? What are you talking about ?

            Figure of speech – it was a succinct way of saying that your ideas set up a system where there’s a lot of centralized control that will go to exactly the wrong type of person.

            I’d rather live in a world with tuna, pandas, and honeybees in it; than a world without them. We could argue about what exactly does or does not count as a “honeybee” later.

            Yeah, honeybees are great which is the motte of the motte and bailey of “species protection”. Everyone thinks people should try to keep honeybees around – the bailey is that when you look at some particular type of fish or bird or insect the closer you look the more species you find and oh look, that land that you want to develop might have a unique species of bird that might be a subspecies or a different species depending on … well, nothing really other than whatever system gets set up to make that determination.

            [Side note – pandas really just seem like evolution finishing off a species that wandered off into an insufficiently high local maximum.]

            Each goal I’ve listed has a measurable end point. This means that it’s possible to evaluate how much work is left before the goal is achieved.

            No Schelling point, no point. Will always get outflanked by someone who wants more.

            This means that when I, a voter, am deciding which proposal to vote for next, I may choose to drop goal A in favor of goals B and C, if finishing goal A would be prohibitively expensive. This is a pretty basic cost-benefit analysis

            Nothing on Earth works like this – for a very good reason.

          • hoghoghoghoghog says:

            @ Silder:. I thought Schelling points were supposed to be arbitrary? Like, there is no optimal place to meet, so you pick one that comes to mind? If so, 0 is a perfect Schelling point.

            Besides, for whatever reason environmentalists have mostly coordinated on 2° celsius climate increase as their target. Sure, someone might try to out-greening that, but I don’t see why environmentalism should be more vulnerable to this dynamic than any other ism.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @TheNybbler, Slider:

            Which unfortunately implies a cap on energy usage and a decline in per-capita energy usage (i.e. an austerity plan)

            I disagree. While some reduction in energy usage is not a terrible plan a priori (do you turn off your lights when you leave the house ? I do), it is by no means the only solution. As I said in my previous comment, I favor a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, via nuclear power as a stopgap measure. If you want to implement austerity on top of that, that’s your choice, not mine.

            Viable – able to generate sufficient power on demand at lower cost than current power supplies.

            Recently, there have been lots of news about major corporations and even some minor countries that have fully transitioned to solar or some other renewable energy to power their data centers. If that doesn’t count as “viable”, then why not ? Also, I’m afraid that by using the word “lower cost” you are ignoring negative externalities. It’s definitely cheaper to heat your apartment by setting your furniture on fire than by turning on an electric heater, but in the long run, you’ll actually end up losing money that way.

            Regardless of what large-scale energy production people can come up with, it will have large scale environmental effects.

            What Iain said. In addition, I’d once again like to point out that I by no means advocate anything like “zero environmental impact NOW or you’re a monster !!!11eleven!”. Maybe someone does, but I can’t speak for that guy, sorry. On that note:

            Figure of speech – it was a succinct way of saying that your ideas set up a system where there’s a lot of centralized control

            What do you mean by “a lot” ? And also, can you demonstrate that my stated goals necessarily lead to this (presumably, increased) amount of centralized control ?

            The time and effort it takes to reduce energy usage to the bare minimum for a given result ALSO costs money.

            Yes, I do support science grants in general, and grants aimed toward clean energy sources in particular. I understand that a hard-core libertarian would consider government grants of any kind to be theft, so if you’re one of those, we could discuss my disagreement with such a stance.

            Tomorrow comes along and I’m a better environmentalist than you because I demand less emissions.

            Yes, and ? Why should I listen to you ? I make my own decisions, and if your platform is built entirely on unachievable goals, then I’m not going to support you.

            …the bailey is that when you look at some particular type of fish or bird or insect the closer you look the more species you find…

            In general, I’d like to preserve as much biodiversity as is reasonably practical. This is different than saying, “maximize biodiversity at any cost”; there are more points on that spectrum than “0%” and “100%”.

            Nothing on Earth works like this – for a very good reason.

            I’m not at all sure what you mean by this sentence.

          • Silder says:

            Bugmaster –

            You’re saying reasonable things about specific policies but you’re missing the larger point.

            Policy comes from structure comes from organizing ideas. The discussion started with “why to leftist ideas sometimes end up with all the leftists killing each other” and you unwittingly provided an example.

            You have reasonable goals A, B and C but there’s nothing special about A, B and C – they’re just things that feel like enough but not too much to you. What happens with a movement is that it’s organized to gain some kind of power – that in the most hopeful case is based on some positive policy that the group wants implemented. Your group organizes, goes out and, if they’re democratic*, tries to gain power by convincing people that “something must be done” about your environmental issues. Since the people in power didn’t do those things the only people you trust to do them are members of your movement who you tried to insert into power positions. They accomplish A, B and C. Then they find out that they don’t much like giving up power and the same convincing that worked for A, B and C works for double A, double B and double C. Rinse and repeat because none of the goals you stated are stable coordination points – they’re just stuff you picked out and for the most part they’re not even actually the goals but the means towards human oriented goals (focusing on CO2 instead of climate, etc.). Of course there are power struggles as you move towards more and more of your goals and yet the results that you hope for remain out of reach or the costs mount (like I said above, lets assume for the sake of argument that the only energy sources capable of running modern civilization are a combination of fossil fuels and nuclear). Now that everyone is on board with the environmentalist message the winner in the power struggles is going to be someone more environmentalist.

            [*If they’re not democratic they go out and rob banks, use the money to buy guns and bombs and start shooting – if the group succeeds the guy in charge of solar power gets shot because not enough solar power gets produced since the holier man is the one who believes more purely in the potential of solar power and reality doesn’t care about what you believe about power generation.]

            Recently, there have been lots of news about major corporations and even some minor countries that have fully transitioned to solar or some other renewable energy to power their data centers. If that doesn’t count as “viable”, then why not ?

            Because it’s an obvious gimmick to game the political system for favors and money. Do companies print press releases when they come up with a slightly better internal payroll system that saves them money? Of course not.

          • Deiseach says:

            “you can eat wild catfish without long-term ill effects”

            From some posts I’ve seen on Tumblr, it looks more like “wild catfish can eat you”.

            Though they do say in the article that these are not the American species of catfish, so you’re probably safe not to be eaten the next time you go fishing.

          • Aapje says:

            @Silder

            Then they find out that they don’t much like giving up power and the same convincing that worked for A, B and C works for double A, double B and double C.

            The fallacy here is that you assume that when you solve a problem, people will not move on to a different problem. Do you act like that yourself? Probably not. So why expect others to always do so?

            If you are more convinced by actual examples:
            – Ozone layer decay was a major issue. Solutions were implemented, people moved on.
            – Acid rain was a major issue. Solutions were implemented, people moved on.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I disagree. While some reduction in energy usage is not a terrible plan a priori (do you turn off your lights when you leave the house ? I do)

            Easy stuff like that runs out very quickly.

            , it is by no means the only solution. As I said in my previous comment, I favor a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, via nuclear power as a stopgap measure.

            OK, so I as the Energy Czar decide to shut down 30% of the fossil fuel plants over the next 10 years and power up an equivalent amount of nuclear and renewable energy capacity. OK, I can shutter the fossil plants… but what’s going on with those nuclear plants? Environmentalists are protesting about waste, proliferation, fear of Chernobyl and Fukushima, warming of the water, killing fish in the intakes, ugliness of cooling tower, what have you. And not just protests but lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. I could have built new coal plants far more easily.

            In the meantime, I’ve tried to build wind, but the Audubon Society sued over killing birds. I couldn’t get the ROW for transmission lines because they supposedly interfere with some sort of animal migration. And some rich people (not even environmentalists this time) complained about the view.

            I also tried solar, but was again blocked because my solar panels, transmission lines, and maintenance vehicles affected the delicate desert environment.

            And when I went to these environmentalists and asked them what should I do instead of what they objected to, some of them just pointed to the other sources… but most of them just said “conservation”. “People lived without air conditioning for centuries” they told me.

            Thing is, the environmental lobby has built an extremely good machine for stopping energy projects. This means if we want more power (which we do, to avoid austerity… especially if the environmentalists are managing to shutter the nuclear we already have) we have to stick with the fossil fuel Devil we know — he’s at least got a really good lobby of his own.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @Slider:
            You have described a pretty common failure mode for activist movements, but you have not explained why this failure mode is unique to the Left (or, possibly, just the Environmental Left). Everything you’ve said applies equally well to the Right, especially its activist Evangelical branch.

            To be fair, the Left has been winning a lot of culture wars up until now, but just because the Right lost, does not mean that it didn’t try.

            Furthermore, you have not explained why this failure mode is unavoidable and inevitable. Note that I personally serve as a counterpoint to this claim. For example, once the rate of increase of carbon emissions hits zero (or even becomes negative, though this is probably too much to hope for), I’ll stop caring about it (until it starts climbing up again).

          • Bugmaster says:

            @Deiseach:
            The lifespan of any catfish that eats me personally is likely to be measured in days, not weeks. Spread the word to all your catfish friends ! 🙂

          • Bugmaster says:

            @TheNybbler:

            Easy stuff like that runs out very quickly.

            Not really, since new solutions are always being invented. Unless, of course, you (acting in your capacity as the Libertarian Czar) decide to shut down all government research grants…

            …but what’s going on with those nuclear plants? Environmentalists are protesting about waste, proliferation, fear of Chernobyl and Fukushima…

            Yes, and I’d oppose those protesters just as you would. If people like you stopped fighting people like me just on principle (and vice versa), I bet we could put together a decent voting bloc… I know this won’t happen anytime soon, but still, food for thought.

            That said, the situation is not as grim as you make it sound. For example, Elon Musk and Tesla have been making significant progress on transitioning their factories to solar (not to mention, transitioning their cars to electric). Google is following suit, as are some other major corporations.

            So, it would appear that it is quite possible to get more power without falling back on fossil fuels, despite all those pesky protesters.

          • Silder says:

            You have described a pretty common failure mode for activist movements, but you have not explained why this failure mode is unique to the Left (or, possibly, just the Environmental Left). Everything you’ve said applies equally well to the Right, especially its activist Evangelical branch.

            It’s an attempt to explain a real existing phenomenon – leftist activism ends up with leftist activists getting to shoot each other in the back of the head. The first problem is to explain why. Then you have to get more nuanced to explain “why not always?”.

            If you’re talking about modern evangelicals I have no idea why you’d pick a powerless group that controls no cultural institutions – but beyond that it’s not really on topic because there haven’t been modern evangelical autogenocides. There have been leftist autogenocides. Two interesting things though – first evangelicals are less vulnerable to an infinite spiral because they have a source text to go back to that contains lots of moderating statements – that’s what a Schelling point looks like and second the “ideology that shall not be named because Scott can’t actually successfully argue against it” makes the point that American / Anglo leftism is the result of a Christian holiness spiral – one that had to discard the actual holy texts specifically because they were too effective a Schelling point.

            Furthermore, you have not explained why this failure mode is unavoidable and inevitable.

            It’s more on you to prove really really strongly that your ideology won’t lead to a known (literal) death spiral failure condition but given that I already explained why it’s likely – set out (what might be) impossible goals (replace all fossil fuels, keep up electricity production) and wait – can’t give up the goals, can’t avoid the energy apocalypse, lots of people get to freeze to death then people get to die who report that, etc.

            As far as

            Note that I personally serve as a counterpoint to this claim.

            No, you don’t. First of all the mechanism is that the beliefs that gain you power keep getting more extreme not “every single person changes their beliefs in a more extreme direction”. Second, you already demonstrated that you are subject to this exact process with environmental contamination! Much better in the western world than 50 years ago, therefore do more because, well, if you don’t believe you should do more you’re not an environmentalist. Third leftists on every conceivable issue always move left without even remembering that they did. “Gay marriage” in 1980 was a joke, Robin Williams starred in a major comedy where the joke was how ridiculous he looked wearing a dress, etc. The nature of leftism granting status to people on the basis of holding beliefs is a mechanism that pushes them to hold more and more extreme beliefs as their old beliefs get mainstreamed. I believe in National Parks, emissions controls and natural husbandry but I don’t get status points for it because that’s not enough to allow me to call myself an “environmentalist” (unless environmentalists are doing the motte and bailey of defining it broadly to seem popular the defining it narrowly to get their demands met – then I get to be an environmentalist (I guess)).

            For example, once the rate of increase of carbon emissions hits zero (or even becomes negative, though this is probably too much for), I’ll stop caring about it (until it starts climbing up again).

            That literally entails totalitarian control of any economic activity across the planet. The track record of leftists being given that type of power is uniformly horrific.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Bugmaster

            New solutions are invented all the time. New easy stuff isn’t. Turn off my lights when I leave the house, turn the heat/AC down when I’m not around…. easy stuff exhausted. After that, maybe I can replace the fridge if it’s not too new (this is the appliance with the most efficiency gain recently). Then it’s all hard stuff, and/or stuff which makes my life worse.

            Knocking down everyone’s house to put up super-sealed, super-insulated structures with heat-exchange ventilation and windows only on one side just isn’t going to happen.

            Yes, and I’d oppose those protesters just as you would.

            In the meantime, while you’re busy being ejected from the environmental movement, my constituents are freezing in the dark. In practice, the environmental movement as a whole opposes the union of all the things any significant subgroup opposes. So if I’m Energy Czar, there’s no point in trying to appease one or another subgroup of the environmental movement; if I can’t get them _all_ to agree then I’ll either be stymied or I’ll have to steamroller them. And there is no major energy source I can come up with where all will agree; the only thing they all agree on is people should use less energy. Further, I have the best ability per kilowatt to steamroller with fossil fuels.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @Slider, TheNybbler:
            I keep getting this increasingly strong feeling that you are not arguing with me, but rather, with the imaginary evil leftist liberal who lives in your head. I am not going to speak for that guy, I can only speak for myself.

            It’s an attempt to explain a real existing phenomenon – leftist activism ends up with leftist activists getting to shoot each other in the back of the head.

            Are you being literal, or metaphorical ? If so, can you offer up any examples — preferably those that occurred in semi-democratic societies such as the USA ?

            It’s more on you to prove really really strongly that your ideology won’t lead to a known (literal) death spiral failure…

            Are you seriously asking me to prove a negative ? I am not omniscient and neither are you, so please provide some positive evidence for your claim.

            Second, you already demonstrated that you are subject to this exact process with environmental contamination! Much better in the western world than 50 years ago, therefore do more because, well, if you don’t believe you should do more you’re not an environmentalist.

            That is a rather uncharitable interpretation of my argument. First of all, I never claimed to be some sort of a gatekeeper for the environmentalist movement; I have repeatedly stated that my beliefs are my own. Secondly, if the percentage of some toxic chemical in the ground water is (hypothetically) 10X above safe levels, and we reduce it to 5X, then that’s a cause for celebration but not a reason to stop working on it. Thirdly, I would love to improve the environmental conditions elsewhere in the world, too, but I feel a lot more strongly about the US — because I live here, and also because at least there’s some semblance of democracy here, unlike in e.g. China.

            That literally entails totalitarian control of any economic activity across the planet.

            You keep asserting this, but without some kind of evidence or chain of reasoning, your assertions are not persuasive.

            After that, maybe I can replace the fridge if it’s not too new (this is the appliance with the most efficiency gain recently).

            So, you’re saying that you’d exhausted the “easy stuff”, but then more “easy stuff” came along (in the form of a more efficient fridge), right ? Wasn’t this kind of my point ? Personally, I’ve recently upgraded to a hybrid car, because the model I wanted was literally as cheap as gasoline cars with comparable specs in my price range… so, why not ? It was the easy stuff, after all.

            Further, I have the best ability per kilowatt to steamroller with fossil fuels.

            As I said before, this is only true if you ignore the negative externalities. Setting your furniture on fire is super cheap in the short term, but buying an electric heater is going to cost a lot less long term.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I keep getting this increasingly strong feeling that you are not arguing with me, but rather, with the imaginary evil leftist liberal who lives in your head.

            I’m arguing with the “Environmentalist Left™”, which is perhaps an emergent phenomenon but a real one nonetheless. Any particular environmentalist may have a workable set of ideas, but each of those ideas will result in so much opposition from other environmentalists that it will be stymied.

            As I said before, this is only true if you ignore the negative externalities. Setting your furniture on fire is super cheap in the short term, but buying an electric heater is going to cost a lot less long term.

            The cost of externalities is less than the cost of not having power. As Energy Czar, I personally might be perfectly on board with transitioning to nuclear, solar, wind, or unicorn farts (which comprise hydrogen and oxygen in stoichiometric ratio) — but if I can’t build any of those, I’m better off building what I can than letting my subjects go without power.

          • Iain says:

            @The Nybbler:
            The transition to solar is happening. More than a third of all new capacity added to the US grid in 2016 was solar; if you add in wind, hydro, and nuclear power, you get up to two thirds environmentally friendly. I don’t know how we managed to sneak those plants past the dastardly environmentalists; I guess maybe they all took the year off.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Iain

            The numbers I find at the EIAs website do not match the article

            http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data.cfm#gencapacity

            In particular there appears to be more natural gas than solar. And that’s without accounting for this being net summer capacity, which makes solar look a lot bigger than it is.

          • Iain says:

            Which document are you looking at? I find it unlikely that Ars Technica is flat out lying about this, and much more likely that you are just looking in the wrong place.

          • Nornagest says:

            After doing some Excel to the raw XLS, I get a sum of 6,675 megawatts of nat gas, 4,206 megawatts of solar, 2,856 of wind, 1,122 of nuclear, 379 of hydro, and a smattering of others. (Including one coal plant, contrary to Ars Technica’s claim; but only one, and it’s not a big one at 50 MW.) On the other hand, there’s some odd features to this data: there are multiple entries for some nat gas installations with identical plant and generator codes, there are no solar thermal plants listed (though that might not be so strange if there’s only 1700 megawatts total in 2015), and the months only go up to October. On the gripping hand, though, it would be weird if the missing two months all went to solar and wind.

            If the existing-capacity figures for 2015 are trustworthy, solar (and wind) capacity in winter is not very different from in summer. But that’s weird enough to make me doubt either the figures or my understanding of them — sun angle alone should make a big difference, and then there’s weather and daylight length.

            If you take the sum of new installations and retirements, then renewable energy could be said to dominate — 6.6 gigawatts of coal went offline in 2016. But that’s not what Ars Technica is doing, since only 456 megawatts of nat gas did and that’s not enough to make up the difference with solar.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Iain

            I got the same numbers as Nornagest.

            Net Summer Capacity and Net Winter Capacity are both “The maximum output […] that generating equipment can supply to system load, as demonstrated by a multi-hour test”

            so day length and weather aren’t relevant; I’m surprised sun angle doesn’t make much of a difference but apparently it doesn’t.

          • Nornagest says:

            I found the missing two months: they are under this table, and are given as planned rather than completed. Which makes sense given that the figures were released in November, but I don’t think Ars Technica is being very honest by assuming they’ll all come in on time: big projects miss deadlines constantly, especially technically innovative ones.

            Anyway, they add a maximum of another 4,156 (!) megawatts of wind, 3,240 megawatts of solar, 1,020 of nat gas, and nine of hydro to the above figures. I think that matches the Ars Technica numbers, so mystery solved, I guess. It’s anyone’s guess how much of that actually came online; but you could probably take a shot at estimating it if you dug up the equivalent tables for 2015.

          • Iain says:

            The Ars article mentions that everybody tries to get their plant online before the end of December “to take advantage of the tax benefits of reaching operational status in the current year”, so it seems plausible that many of the proposed projects will actually finish on time. Either way, the exact numbers don’t really matter: my overall point (about how we are successfully building a lot of renewable energy plants) still stands.

          • For example, once the rate of increase of carbon emissions hits zero (or even becomes negative, though this is probably too much for), I’ll stop caring about it (until it starts climbing up again).

            That literally entails totalitarian control of any economic activity across the planet.

            I think that is an exaggeration. I think if four big polities (U.S., E.U., China and India) all decided to impose carbon taxes sufficient to produce a mild decrease in their CO2 emissions, that might well be enough to get the global rate of increase to zero.

            I’m not arguing that doing that would be desirable, but it doesn’t require totalitarian control of any economic activity across the planet, or anywhere for that matter–a carbon tax is well short of totalitarian control.

        • Reduction of harmful chemical compounds (e.g. lead, mercury)

          Harmful yes. Compounds no. Lead and Mercury have their own seats at the periodic table.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        Silder is banned for this and other posts

    • cassander says:

      You’re leaving out the tens of millions of ukrainians/kulaks/and various other others that Stalin quite willingly put to death. Heck, Lenin started liquidating kulaks (who were others par excellence) less than a year after taking power.

      So it’s not that the left is mean to in groups and the right out groups, it’s that for the right, membership in the ingroup gives you more protection than it does not in the left.

      I ascribe this to two factors. One, the right wing belief in hierarchy keeps things from getting as crazy at the center. Once we have a Fuhrer, we stick with him, because he’s the Fuhrer. Two, the 20th century left has almost invariably defined the ingroup as those people who hold the right ideas, rather than members of a certain race or class. being the right race or class was a help, but it wasn’t the be all end. Because it’s about ideas, the left is more susceptible to spirals of virtue signalling, which keeps the center churning.

      As the left becomes more and more identity focused, more and more like the very old right, maybe this will change. Or maybe I’m full of crap.

      • dndnrsn says:

        The numbers of dead which Stalin was responsible for, the degree to which misfortune, incompetence, and malice caused deaths, etc are all still matters of debate. The numbers vary far more than the estimates of Nazi victims, either because the Germans were true to stereotype in keeping detailed records (eg Einsatzgruppen reports, Hoefle Telegram) or relevant information is still locked up in archives the Russian government has not opened.

        Timothy Snyder, hardly a fan of Stalin (I have seen him condemned by self-proclaimed communists for relying on “fascist” statistics, “fascist” meaning “not friendly enough to the USSR”) thinks six million civilians were intentionally killed under Stalin, nine million if you count unintentional but forseeable deaths. He gives the equivalent numbers for the Germans as eleven and twelve million. I haven’t run his numbers to see if he’s including the two and a half million Soviet POWs who died, and he doesn’t seem to be counting all the Soviet civilians who died during the war (which may be reasonable: for example, even if both sides had tried their utmost to keep civilians from starving, which the Soviets and especially the Germans didn’t – if you weren’t part of the war effort the Soviet authorities don’t seem to have cared much, and the Germans planned to starve tens of millions).

        I think that you are correct that the greater tendency on the right to consider biology plays a part. There were hard and fast limits on who could be a member of the ingroup in Nazi Germany, and on who could be members of the most hated outgroup (with some exceptions – there were a few cases of people with Jewish or half-Jewish fathers who were ruled to have been the result of cuckoldry, as an example).

        I think you are, however, incorrect that a belief in hierarchy was that much stronger among the Nazis. One of the reasons the German war effort was such a muddle was that Hitler played his subordinates off against each other for fear that one would get too powerful and challenge him, and they were constantly jockeying against each other, forming alliances, etc. Hitler was a terrible manager, and the Nazi hierarchy was extremely chaotic. Even when the fighting had reached Berlin, his underlings were playing power games against each other. Purity spirals also happened in Nazi Germany.

        • cassander says:

          Snyder’s figures are extremely conservative. they represent the absolute minimums that are decent. Other reputable figures with access to soviet archives, like conquest, give considerably higher totals. And he, of course, leaves out all deaths before stalin came to power in 1927, despite his complicity in the many murders of the earlier soviet state. He also, for some reason, leaves out the post-war deaths, most notably the 1946-7 famine.

          As to german post-war plans, these varied considerably during the war, and while all were awful, the degree of awfulness did vary considerably. It is unfair to pick out the worst of them.

          Both sides made plans that involved the deaths of millions. It seems unfair to knock the nazis for admitting this openly while rewarding the soviets plans that were just as murderous because they ignored the problem.

          >One of the reasons the German war effort was such a muddle was that Hitler played his subordinates off against each other for fear that one would get too powerful and challenge him, and they were constantly jockeying against each other, forming alliances, etc.

          I think this factor is overstated. There was plenty of infighting among senior leadership on all sides. it mattered less on the allied side because A, they were winning for most of the war, which makes things less acrimonious, and B, even when mistakes were made their massively greater material resources meant they were easier to afford. You also have to take into account that every history of german leadership during the war is based on testimony from people who had just lost a war and were desperately trying to avoid hanging. You’re not likely to get a lot of people defending Hitler’s management style in such circumstances.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I thought Conquest came up with his numbers during the middle of the Cold War. Did he revise them afterwards? Even if we double Snyder’s numbers, though, that’s still a couple million short of “tens of millions”. I think Snyder’s numbers solve the problem of apologists on the one hand who claim nobody died (and also they deserved it) and the people who claim that Stalin killed a large % of the Soviet population. Some claim Stalin was responsible for the deaths of around 50 million Soviets – that is a high enough % of the Soviet population that I am not sure if a state could function with that many people dying.

            (As a side note – I recall seeing an article written by self-proclaimed Maoist scholars, Westerners I believe, making the argument from statistics that the Great Leap Forward had only caused the deaths of 15 million…)

            As for German post-war plans, isn’t Generalplan Ost generally accepted as what they actually wanted to do?

            Regarding management and so forth in the Third Reich, I would draw a very significant line between the dictatorships and the democracies. Sure, there were power struggles and shuffles of personnel in the US or Britain, but nowhere near the infighting of Nazi Germany, and nowhere near as bloody as the USSR. FDR never had MacArthur, Patton, or Eisenhower shot or demoted for getting too popular.

            You are, of course, correct that post-war there was a boom in memoirs by surviving German higher-ups trying to blame everything on people who had committed suicide or been hanged. Still, I think the evidence that there was a lot more internal jockeying for power in Nazi Germany is good, even if it didn’t happen as the survivors said (example: Speer writing an entire book blaming everything on Himmler, when in fact the evidence suggests he and Himmler worked together quite closely).

          • cassander says:

            @dndnrsn

            >Did he revise them afterwards? E

            He did, and downwards somewhat, but still well more than Snyder, into the tens of millions.

            > Some claim Stalin was responsible for the deaths of around 50 million Soviets – that is a high enough % of the Soviet population that I am not sure if a state could function with that many people dying.

            well the Khmer rouge did kill something like 1/3 of the population of cambodia in just a few years, and were only stopped by outside invasion. Stalin’s deaths were spread out over a couple decades.

            Then you also have the ambiguous deaths, if stalin orders your penal battalion to walk across a minefield, do you count that as a stalin death? Does it matter if it’s in 1941, when stalin is desperately trying to stop the german invasion, or 1945 when he’s trying to conquer as much of eastern europe as he can?

            @Regarding management and so forth in the Third Reich, I would draw a very significant line between the dictatorships and the democracies. Sure, there were power struggles and shuffles of personnel in the US or Britain, but nowhere near the infighting of Nazi Germany, and nowhere near as bloody as the USSR. FDR never had MacArthur, Patton, or Eisenhower shot or demoted for getting too popular.

            Less bloody, sure, no question, but that doesn’t mean the machine functioned more smoothly. Alan brook, the Chief British general, loathed churchill, thought he was a mad man.

            >Still, I think the evidence that there was a lot more internal jockeying for power in Nazi Germany is good, even if it didn’t happen as the survivors said

            they were also losing. If you say “we can’t do X, it will be a disaster” and you win, criticism is muted, even if you take twice as many casualties as was predicted. Once you start losing, however, and are surrounded by lots of unambiguous disasters, there’s much more room for criticism and recrimination.

          • hyperboloid says:

            As to german post-war plans, these varied considerably during the war, and while all were awful, the degree of awfulness did vary considerably. It is unfair to pick out the worst of them.

            I think you’re vastly understating the violent
            nature of Nazi ideology.

            On the orders on Heinrich Himmler Generalplan Ost was drafted in 1940 by Hans Ehlich and Konrad Meyer, the head of the Race and Settlement Office of the SS. The plan classified the population of central and eastern Europe into racial groups, with “Aryan” elements to be germanized and the rest to be deported or eliminated. In the end the plan called for the removal of half of all Latvians, Estonians and Czechs, sixty percent of all Russians, sixty five percent of the population Ukraine, seventy five percent of the Belorussians, and eighty five percent of poles and Lithuanians, not to mention of course the extermination removal of the Jews.

            This was not a hypothetical document, as it was drafted by the architects of the of final solution; and as such we should consider holocaust as being but the first stage of this much greater plan.

          • cassander says:

            @hyperboloid

            >ith “Aryan” elements to be germanized and the rest to be deported or eliminated

            My point is precisely that there’s an enormous amount of difference between “deported” and “eliminated”, and plans wavered back and forth.

            My point is also that the Soviet plans for what they did when they won also involved deporting millions. And they were implemented.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @cassander:

            Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was four years of disaster, though, while the USSR under Stalin played a huge role in winning a major war (inflicting almost 90% of German casualties) and took advantage of that war to conquer half of Europe. It’s highly unlikely that Stalin killed a % of the Soviet population similar to the Khmer Rouge.

            Concerning ambiguous deaths – I don’t know. I don’t know how you’d break down what’s the fault of the Germans (for starting the war) versus what’s the fault of the Soviets (for being willing to sacrifice troops and civilians). The degree to which the Soviets threw men at the enemy is significantly exaggerated, too.

            The degree to which things were messed up in Germany seem to have a lot to do with the personality of Hitler. The image of Hitler as dilettanteish, alternately micromanaging and ignoring important things, making important decisions based on who he talked to last, has been exaggerated, but there are non-post-war accounts of it.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @hyperboloid/cassander:

            Planned German deportations and actual Soviet deportations both tended not to pay a great deal of attention as to whether those deported would be able to survive where they were deported to.

            Example: there’s some indication that the original German plans regarding the Jews that fell into their clutches was to deport them east of the Urals once the Soviet Union had been beaten, and the gassings and shootings were a response to the war against the Soviets not going as planned in mid-to-late 1941. However, deporting millions of people east of the Urals would have been a death sentence for a lot of them, as the Germans are unlikely to have provided those deported with what they would need to survive, let alone build sustainable communities.

            EDIT: and, as hyperboloid notes, “deported” is often a euphemism.

          • hyperboloid says: